The Editor-in-chief for The Hoofbeat is always required to edit every staff member's story every issue of the newspaper. It is important that at least one person reviews all articles before going to print to ensure there is consistency throughout every section.
Besides referencing the AP Stylebook at every turn, quote formatting and content organization are some of the biggest components I look for when editing. I always like identifying all of the positives of someone's article and mixing them in with critique. Improvement is always important to note, especially if a writer or editor is working particularly hard.
Every story goes through multiple rounds of edits. Once stories are finalized, they are previewed one last time within the drafted layouts the week before print. 20 pages of layouts also get marked up with my felt tip pens, making sure no misspellings or color misplacements could possibly diminish the publication's credibility.
View Olivia's finished story on Page 8 of this Issuu.
To the left is one of my staff writer's columns and my attached comments. My doctrine regarding editing is very simple: encourage growth. Yes, it is detrimental I catch and correct AP Style errors and incorrect attributions, however, I've had to learn how to facilitate learning by not being as controlling.
At the top of every writer or editor's story, I always summarize the main aspects of the story that need to be improved while also acknowledging the successes a writer had while reporting.
This was my message to Olivia:
Olivia, great start! I feel like there is a lot more you can unpack! I think that this could become a personal narrative for you. We just need to make that decision. Do you want to talk from your personal experience as a member of this community, or do you wish to talk more generally about the homophobia that comes with families being together during the holidays? I almost feel like that person in your introduction could be you, pacing, if that fits your experience. Then you could relate your feelings of singularity to a wider audience. Consider adding statistics/a survey regarding how many members of the community feel uncomfortable around their family because of reactions to their identity. If you don't go the personal narrative route, consider adding student testimonials. I just commented on some phrasing and AP style intricacies. We can talk more about developing a clearer argument on Zoom!
Editing Page Layouts
After stories are final-edited, every section editor is able to place the articles and finish up their layouts. The night before we go to the printer I have every section editor print out their layouts, one for them and one for me. This is to ensure no spelling, formatting, or grammatical errors get printed. There are also certain intricacies to our tabloid layout that need to be checked such as justification, CMYK color values, and more. As the Editor-in-chief, I have the responsibility of recognizing the subtler errors. I mark up 20 pages of layouts with my favorite gel pens and give them back to the editors the next day. While there's a focus on design when editing layouts, I also make sure to proofread every story, as extra periods or commas are common when transferring documents to InDesign.
Conferencing about edits
With so many writers learning remotely this year, it is essential for me to make time to Zoom conference with each of them individually. I never want to simply leave edits on a document and expect someone to understand all of my suggestions. The face-to-face communication is essential to developing an article and ensuring we are constantly growing as journalists.