Using each other to edit copy
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DLC at http://dlc.k12.ar.us ER
•Reporters will do a better job of editing
their own work because they know a
peer will edit them.
•As peer editor’s find other’s mistakes,
they become aware of their own.
•Staff communication and team work
What to do
It is not the job of the peer editor to fix
mistakes, only to find them. The
reporter fixes mistakes.
First step – Read through the story
once without marking any changes.
This allows the editor a complete view
of the story.
•Second step – Read through the story
again taking each editing item one at a
time. The peer editor will end up
reading the entire story many times
before the process is over.
HINT: To help the editor from skipping
over mistakes, read the copy from the
bottom up a few times.
•Does the lead capture your attention?
•Is the news within the first eight words?
•Does the lead begin with the most appropriate
element? Is it not the “when” or “where”?
•Can the lead be printed as a story of its own?
•Does the lead explain to the reader why the story is
•Is the story written in the appropriate
format? (inverted pyramid, editorial,
•Does it read smoothly from paragraph
•Are there any stacked quotes?
5Ws and H
•Are all the 5 Ws and H given early?
•Are any delayed? If so, should they
Correct Titles and Names
• Are all people referred to by their full name and
title (sophomore, History teacher, etc.) the first time
they are mentioned?
• On second reference, are people referred to by
last name only?
• Do all adults have courtesy titles (Mr. Ms. Mrs.),
regardless of when they are mentioned in the copy?
•Are numbers 0 – 9 spelled out, unless
part of a date?
•Are numbers 10 and above given in
•Are dates missing the st, nd, th?
•Do any sentences begin with numbers?
Overused Words Avoided
•Are some words used over and over in
•Could different words be substituted
•This does not count for “said.”
There is / There are
• Avoided using there is / are in sentences.
• Rewrite sentence to eliminate these phrases.
Example: There are many sports on campus for
The sports on campus for women include:
basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming,
tennis, track and golf.
Paragraphs / Sentence
•Are paragraphs between 2 – 3
•Can long paragraphs be split into
•Can long sentences be split into smaller
Quotes Attributed and Type
•Do all quotes have attribution attached?
•Is the correct type of quote used for the
•Direct Quote – Opinions
•Paraphrase – Facts, statistics,
confusing direct quotes.
•1st and 2nd personal pronouns should only
appear in quoted material for news stories.
•These include: I, we, us, our, me, my, you,
•Editorials may use the following pronouns: we,
our, us, you. They may not use I.
•Columns may use any pronoun.
Active, Strong, Specific Verbs
•All verbs should be strong. Avoid got, took, or other non
•Avoid passive verbs (to be). The subject of the sentence
should be doing the action.
•Example: John Colham will be replaced by Sally Miller.
•Should read: Sally Miller replaces John Colham.
Correct Verb Tense
•Are the verbs written in the correct
tense. (Past, present or future?)
Nouns / Verb Agree
•Do your nouns and verbs agree?
•Example: They go to the store
•They is plural, go is a singular verb.
•Correct: They went to the store
Pronouns / Antecedents Agree
•Do pronouns and their antecedents
•Example: Sally and Mark went to his
•Correct: Sally and Mark went to their
•Are commas used correctly?
•Do they have a purpose for where
they are placed?
•Are there any missing commas?
•Is the capitalization correct throughout
the entire copy?
•Is the capitalization in quotes correct?
•Are all the words spelled correctly?
•Are sentences a variety in length
without being too long or short?
•Are simple words chosen in favor of
longer, more complicated words?
•Example: Stubborn instead of
•In non-opinion copy, are all opinions
eliminated or attributed to an outside
•Are unnecessary words avoided
because similar words were already
used in the sentence?
•Example: The FBLA made future plans
for the conference.
•Future and plans mean the same thing.
•Have extra words or phrases been eliminated?
•Example: The coach said no more work on the
football field will be needed at this time.
•Correct: The coach said no more work is needed
on the football field.
Vagueness / Generalities
•Skip the general and get specifics. If you don’t
know, find out.
•Example: A new group of teachers attended the
•How many teachers?
•Example: The president, who was not killed,
crawled from the fire.
•If he was killed, he couldn’t have crawled.
Incorrect Word Usage
•Are the correct words used?
•Example: The new band director plays every
instrument accept the trombone.
•Accept – except?
•Example: The principle made an announcement?
•Principle – principal?
Clichés and Slang
•All all clichés and slang eliminated?
•Example: Teachers are busy as a
•Example: The rally raised the roof.
•Sentences should be positive unless there is a
reason to stress the “not,” “no,” or “never.”
•Example: The trip does not have the teacher’s
•Correct: The trip lacks the teacher’s approval.
Too Many Prepositions
•Prepositional phrases bog the reader down.
•Example: When they marched on the field at the
start of halftime, the band played the song.
•Correct: Marching onto the field at halftime, the
band played the song.