I’m learning quickly that (as much as I love it) editing a newspaper can get extremely frustrating. Yes, I’m talking about The Projector.
The most frustrating thing: Picking up the new issue of the paper and realizing there’s mistakes on the cover, again.
This issue, there’s an apostrophe on CEOs where there shouldn’t be. On the cover. Gah.
Now, even as the Co Editor-in-Chief, I have to say there are no excuses for this. But, it happens. It’s not for lack of effort, either. We pored over the copy, inside and out. Two sets of eyes read it. Multiple times. How in the heck did we miss that stupid apostrophe on the cover?
It will forever be those tiny little errors on the cover, and in headlines, that nag at me. They drive me insane.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda, right?
I’ve started to make myself lists of things to look for during production in order to catch these pesky little errors. For each issue that comes out I make a list of things that I’ve noticed, and what to watch for when it comes to the production of the next issue.
Here’s a few things that have made my list, thus far:
• Quadruple check the front cover. Pore over it with a fine-tooth comb if you have to. Check. Walk away. Come back and check it again. Do that multiple times. Even when you think everything’s perfect, it’s very likely there’s going to be an error. And it always comes to bite you in the ass when the issue hits the stands.
• Make sure that the page numbers listed on the front and inside teasers match where the story is actually placed inside the paper. Double check this. Maybe even triple check.
• Ensure all of the contributors names are spelled right. They tend to be unhappy when they’re not.
• Check that all fonts used for headlines and subheads are consistent throughout the newspaper.
• Make sure the dates at the bottoms of the pages are that of the current issue – using a template from previous issues can make this tricky; and if you’re not careful, it’s an easy one to miss.
• Ensure that all photos have cutlines, and that the cutlines are correct.
• Print out the PDFs of the pages, go through them with a highlighter. Fix any errors. Repeat if necessary (it’s probably a good idea to look through them more than once).
• Double check (or triple check) the PDFs before you send them to the printer. It’s never too late to catch errors.
There you have it, my editing to-do list. I hope that if you ever find yourself editing a newspaper, these tips come in handy (and will hopefully help you catch those pesky little errors).