Use the Three-Step Method
Many editors develop their own personalized methods or checklists, and you may want to develop one specific to your publication. But they all have three basic steps in common: content, copy edit and clarity. They work specifically in this order:
- Read for Content: the facts, tone and story structure.
- Read to Copy Edit: mechanics, AP and local style guide.
- Read for Clarity: clear message and no unanswered questions.
This order is important as you don't know what content will be cut until you've read through the story the first time. If you skip to step 2 or 3, you may end up spending time copy editing or revising parts of the story that will ultimately be cut.
Bad Habits to Avoid
Be mindful to watch out for bad habits you want to correct.
- Editing just because you can. Be the editor you've always wanted. The red pen can be addictive, and a job title can make you feel powerful. The writer's voice should still be recognizable once you have finished.
- Editing from your perspective. Edit according to the three-step method. Read the story from the audience's point of view and edit from their perspective, not your personal style.
- Rewriting instead of editing. Coach your writers. Rewrites should be done at the writer's level, and you need to train your writers to do so. If you are doing your job efficiently, you will help your writers grow as they write, so you don't see the same problems with the next story.
Discover content by selecting individual tiles, or using the buttons across the top.
Good Habits to Adopt