What Does A Copy-editor Do?


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Louise Gorman Profile
Louise Gorman answered
A copy-editor has the task of editing text and making improvements etc. The copy editor must make sure that any grammatical or spelling errors must be corrected before a final proof copy is made.

Copy editors will make cuts to the text to improve it and make it more suitable for publishing. They must also make sure that the text matches the publisher's house style.

The majority of copy editors have a degree, usually in English Language or journalism. However, there are home study courses that can be taken for people who wish to gain knowledge of how copy editing works and to gain diplomas.

The Society for Editors and Proofreaders also run copy editing courses, along with proofreading courses, and there are university courses available to gain a degree in publishing.
Patricia Devereux Profile
When I tell people I am a newspaper editor, some say," Oh, how neat! What kind of stories do you write" I sigh then patiently explain that I do rewrites, not produce original copy. They say, "Oh, OK -- what kind of stories do you write?"
This has lead me to the realization that many people do not realize the difference between a reporter and an editor.
A reporter gets an assignment, goes out and interviews sources, then writes a story based on the information gleaned.
An editor then takes that story and checks it for accuracy; corrects its grammar, spelling, and usage; then usually writes a headline for it. The story is then ready for publication.
A copy editor's job now usually entails designing pages on a computer, usually with the program Quark Express. He or she is responsible for writing or editing photo captions and organizing the page in such a manner that the most prominent news is given appropriate "play" and that the page is visually appealing. Page designers double-check each other's work then the page is ready to go on the press.
A common complaint from reporters is that editors unwittingly edit errors into the copy. While this is often true, my response is that the story was poorly written to begin with -- and if I, as the editor, was unclear as to the reporter's intent, surely the public would be, too.

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