ICE Desk Scrapbook

At the Columbia Missourian interactive copy desk, copy editors perform several valuable tasks for the newspaper. These tasks include copy editing and fact-checking stories and graphics, writing SEO and print headlines, composing online and print decks as well as creating social media posts.

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  1. My copy flow log
  2. My weekly reflections
  3. Online Copy Edits

  4. This article required an extensive edit with both phrasing and structure. It required a call to the reporter to pitch my suggestions on how to improve the writing so it was easy to understand. At the beginning and end of the piece, I rephrased several sentences because the reporter used extremely awkward syntax. He also had the wrong year for a previous piece of local legislature that was related to the current proposal. Additionally, the body paragraphs' topics jumped around, so I grouped together the sports information and equine information. Near the end of the article, the reporter did not explain what the "EPIC" tax was, so I also had to add background for that.
  5. Most of this edit revolved around fixing improper capitalization of "city council" and its many forms. There was also a few awkward transitional phrases and compound-complex sentences that needed some editing. I also rewrote the headline and deck.
  6. Editing this article was an interesting ride. The reporter used several strange phrases. He described eyes as "beaming up" and stated the coach's speech was a cliche. There were two sisters in the story and the reporter did not separate their quotes with prose or use news style attribution for naming the speaker after the first sentence of a quote. I also checked with the reporter to change the sentence, "Instead of celebrating her milestone, she said deferred to thank the players and coaches she's worked with over her coaching career." I rewrote it with his permission to: "Despite the accomplishment, Pingeton said she didn't want to get caught up in the emotion of it."
  7. This copy edit revolved around streamlining the piece, such as taking out unnecessary adverbs and transitional phrases. For example, I took out the phrase"that are due" in the sentence: "Communities that want to host the festival for the next five years will be required to make bids on the event that are due March 6." This reporter also consistently capitalized advisory board and missed a few Missourian style errors. I really wanted to change the lede in the piece, but I chose not to because it had already went through edits by the city editor. This was a hard decision for me because I felt that the lede didn't provide the news and it was awkwardly written.
  8. Although I didn't have to do too many edits to this article, it did require extensive fact-checking to ensure the reporter got the numbers right. During the fact-checking process, I learned that the architecture firm had several locations around the world, so we couldn't report that it was "Kansas City based". I also caught a few style errors that were easily fixed. I slightly adjusted the reporter's headline and rewrote the deck.
  9. This edit was a big learning curve for me. I learned how to argue for an exception to local style with an editor. The main character, Olivia Spaedy was older than 15, so we should have used her last name when quoting and describing her. However, her older sister also played a large part in the piece. I argued that it was confusing to differentiate between the two sisters, and the city editor approved my request to call the girls by their first names. I also fact-checked Olivia's age and found out she had a birthday between the writing and publishing of the article.

    However, I missed several other important aspects with this article. The biggest one was the headline. I thought the interesting part of this article was the club Olivia was leading and tailored the headline around that. But the piece was a profile, so the copy desk editor changed it to reflect the central character. I also missed an assumption the reporter used as a transition instead of a quote that the copy editor later found. Lastly, due to awkward phrasing, I changed a phrase with only two items to a phrase with three items and an oxford comma. The city editor chewed me out for changing that.
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