The Editorial Apartment

What it takes to copyedit the news

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The recent CNN article, Why “Amercia” Needs Copy Editors, shows some editorial goofs in the news, errors that could have been avoided, as the article points out, if a copy editor had reviewed the material.

But the article also reminds me about what it takes to be a news copy editor besides being skilled at language and fact checking like all copy editors. News copy editors must also know a mountain of facts and details about the world. They must be, as the author of puts it, “walking databanks about local and world affairs—in short, they must know a little about everything.” See the sample tests from the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern program available on the website to realize just what that means.

A few examples of the fill-in-the blank items from some of those tests:

(2012 test) Frank Buckles, the last U.S. veteran of ___________, died at the age of 110. His death came in the same year that marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the ___________ War.

(2010 test) ___________ abruptly quit as a judge of “American Idol.”

(2000 test) The U.S. defeated China, 1-0, to win the World Cup in the sport of ___________ before the largest crowd ever to see a women’s sporting event.


Author: copyeditorgwen

I am a copy editor and my office is my apartment. I copyedit or proofread a wide range of digital and print marketing communications, as well as books and textbooks. Contact me if you need editorial help. My rates are reasonable, my work thorough, my turnaround fast. Visit my WordPress website:

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