Importance of a copy editor
In today’s society of news, where the media constantly breaks stories via Internet and social media, the copy editor has a tremendous responsibility to his or her organization. The most reputable and reliable news sources have a strong team of editors, which enhance the quality of each story.
Role of a copy editor
“Copy editors are key bridges between information gatherers and information consumers and . . . perform all the traditional copy editing tasks plus some duties” (Bowles). A copy editor improves stories by making dull writing interesting and precise, corrects grammar, spelling and punctuation, judges news value, corrects facts, protects and enhances the publication’s reputation and image and designs page layouts.
Characteristics of a good copy editor
The best copy editors share characteristics and personality traits that allow them to publish top quality stories. These characteristics include: confidence, objectivity, awareness, intelligence, questioning nature, ability to write and sense of humor. Another important characteristic that a copy editor must have is leadership. The writers, reporters and anchors take direction from the copy editor, so it is important that he or she lets a good example, and has expectations.
Real life application
This past summer, Princess Kate Middleton was photographed sunbathing topless in France. Many magazines published this story, and also showed pictures of Kate topless.
The copy editor had to evaluate the news worthiness of this story. Was it timely, relevant, unusual, prominent or appeal to human interest? Many copy editors deemed this story news worthy, and published it.
Due to the scandalous nature of this story, the copy editor had to have confidence in his or her decision to publish this story, and a keen awareness of the effect this story would have on the royal family.
In this example, the copy editor had to protect his or her publication’s reputation and image, by deciding whether to show topless photos of Kate. In many cases, such as E! News, the copy editor chose not to publish these scandalous photos to conserve the reputation of their organization, and to remain on good terms with the royal family.