Interns offer advice for copy editors

Preparing students for their summer jobs as multi-platform editors

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

Twenty-one years ago, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas, Griff Singer, recognized a need, a need to train copy editors. Together with Rich Holden, then executive director of the Dow Jones News Fund, they created the Center for Editing Excellence to train interns. They all received two weeks of training before they set foot at media outlets such as Newsday, the Houston Chronicle, the Beaumont Enterprise, Stars and Stripes, the Dallas Morning News or, as the profession has evolved, worked in copy editing centers such as Gatehouse’s Center for News & Design, or for online media such as Buzzfeed.

Over time, they’ve continued to focus on the different levels of editing:

  • LEVEL 1 — law, ethics, appropriate sources, different angles; edit upon conceptualization
  • LEVEL 2 — organization, design, enough reporting; edit with drafts and rewriting
  • LEVEL 3 — grammar, spelling, punctuation, style; edit at the last minute

In the last few years, the students have added to their skills in headline writing, trimming news briefs and designing pages and learn more about embedding video and best practices for Twitter. While now the training is only 10 days, it is just as grueling. Students, mostly college juniors and seniors, spend their last three days producing a six-page newspaper, a website and social media in real time with real publication deadlines — the Southwest Journalist.

The training center at the UT-Austin is one of six centers, two focusing on editing and preparing interns for their summer jobs as multi-platform editors. The other four, now led by Linda Shockey, managing director of the Dow Jones News Fund, focus on business reporting, data journalism or digital media.

Before they left each of the interns in Austin offered some advice for other copy editors. Here is their advice. Continue reading Interns offer advice for copy editors