Copyediting Online: What’s the Same? What’s Different? Nora Paul Director, Institute for New Media Studies University of Minnesota [email protected] BUT…. …differences exist. Some rules are different
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On the print side, a story gets written, looked at by a desk editor, then worked over in minute detail by a copy editor. Then it is checked by the managing copy editor, and gets final approval by the chief copy editor. Once laid out, it gets printed off and re-checked on hard copy by another copy editor for errors in headlines, breakers, etc.
Online there is no formal copy editing staff whatsoever. In most cases an assignment / site editor will look at the story quickly either just before it is posted or, if it is a quick-breaking piece, immediately after it goes up online. But in some cases where nobody is available to check the copy, the person writing the story posts it directly once it is ready to go. If there is nobody available to look at it (due to chronic under-staffing), nobody in editorial buy the writer sees the story before it is posted.
We find that copy desk experience is among the most important in finding well-qualified online producers. We want the benefits of copy editing built-into a small operation that doesn’t allow a dedicated desk.
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