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JRN301 Copy Editing

Lead Faculty: Dr. Sara-Ellen L. Amster Ph.D

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to copyediting and includes the roles and responsibilities of a copy editor on a daily newspaper, which go beyond being able to spot grammatical and spelling errors in copy. Students learn how a copy editor approaches a news story and how to edit that story for clarity, sense and organization, as well as for spelling, grammar and style, and fairness. Students will edit copy and write headlines and cutlines, as well as learn the basics of layout and design.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify the necessary skills to function as a professional copy editor.
  • Recognize the importance of single-minded concentration and focus when copy editing a story.
  • Demonstrate how to read and edit on different levels, for story organization, logic, fairness, accuracy, style, grammar and spelling.
  • Describe how news judgment affects design and layout.
  • Describe how to question the reporter and content editor to revise stories and make them coherent and complete.
  • Explain the importance of reading the publication you work for, every day, as well as reading competing publications and consuming a variety of other media.
  • Compose good headlines and cutlines (picture captions) for stories.
  • Apply proper spelling and grammar in the editing of a story.
  • Recognize the importance of style and consistency within a publication.
  • Identify the principles of page layout and design.
  • Identify the legal definition of libel and describe the role copy editors play as the news organization's last line of defense against libel.
  • Identify the role of wire services in news-gathering, and use their contributions appropriately.