Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Are you ready to be a copy editor?

Q: How can you tell if you're really a copy editor?
A: If your first reaction to this lede is "wow, somebody finally put commas around a midclause 'police said,'" you are really, truly a copy editor.

Naturally, that's not all you'd notice. You might wonder, for example, about "drug-fueled high" -- "drug-fueled rampage" or "drug-fueled recording session," fine, but let's stay out of the Department of Redundancy Department when we can. You might be puzzled at the second-day nature of the lede. It's really more of a seventh-day lede, in that the events happened last Tuesday, but there's still room to ask: Why is this story in the paper anyway? And you're probably thinking about holding a headline contest after the last edition closes.

But if your takeaway from all this is the heavens don't darken when you punctuate a cops lede correctly, then there's no doubt. You are a copy editor.

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