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Copy Editor » Overview

Copy Editor

The copy editor plays a crucial role in any publishing business, especially magazines and newspapers. They manage editorial staff and their newspaper or magazine business, direct the preparation of articles, perform the final check of content before it goes to print, and make sure that articles and the entire publication are formatted properly.

Copy editors usually have a degree in English or Journalism and have excellent writing and editing skills. This involves being able to reword a passage so that it reads better, but does not destroy the writers ‘voice’. So, editors must have strong grammar skills and must be able to pick up errors before they make it to print. This is where a Journalism or English degree comes in use.

For publications such as newspapers that rely on their perceived accuracy, even small grammatical errors and poorly worded sentences can have a negative impact on circulation. If grammatical errors are present, how can readers be certain that the publication has their facts straight?

Before the copy editor overlooks an article, the writer will have performed some preliminary editing and grammar checks. Then, the writer’s editor reads the story and makes suggestions for content changes. Finally, the copy editor reads the article with a focus on both the mechanics (grammar and formatting) and the content of the story. Copy editors may also be responsible for writing headlines on stories.

At the end of the day, the copy editor is responsible for checking that every page, every article, story, brief, word, headline and photo are correct.