Editing and proofreading

I work at a weekly 32 page newspaper. And every week we do the same thing as far as editing copy and proofreading.

The copy comes to us in email form, it goes to two editors, that have been told to edit the copy and save in to be placed on the page.

After the editors look over the copy twice it is placed on the newspaper page layout. The page is printed out with the ads in place.

The editors and three other people proofread the pages 5 to six times. Each time adding words are removing words.

It is driving me crazy, that the copy can be edited correctly on the first two reads before placing on the page.

Is this standard OP for weekly newspaper, and I should just live with it?

I have been with this newspaper 11 years, and the people doing the editing have been with the newspaper 25 to 37 years.

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Looks like you are on proof 1.

I would say if you don’t like the process find one that works and present it to them. If you are still agitated maybe the newspaper isn’t the right fit for you.

Not to be a wet blanket but…

“The editors and three other people proofread the pages 5 to six times. Each time adding words are removing words.”

….perhaps that is why? Only a guess? We all miss typos…that’s where the old saying comes in… Four eyes are better than two. IMHO

The newspaper has a style, and what I do not understand is the editors read the copy over. And have been told many times to correct the copy on the computer before sending it to production. In production we do no retype the copy, it is placed on the page from the edited word document read by the editor.

Yes, I am working at the wrong place, I never worked at a place that does it editing after it is layout on the pages.

Only typos should be marked on the layout pages.

It not the proofreading of the pages 5 times, it the correcting style that should have been corrected on the first two reading before placing on the page.

Is this how other weekly newspapers work?

We us the AP style guide,

Newspaper writers who want to improve their copy should read “The Elements of Editing” by Arthur Plotnik, the “AP Stylebook” from cover to cover and “The Associated Press Guide to News Writing.” Also, obtain a copy of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.”

There is nothing wrong, that I can see, with the process of the editing at your newspaper. One of the aspects about letterpress printing that I appreciate is that letterpress printers learn the editing marks that were part of my formative journalistic training. Those marks usually appeared on the proof copy. The proof copy is a suitable place for further editing.

I prefer the newspaper styles over the more formal MLA and other styles because they are succinct. There is an efficiency about them.

I once worked on a small academic journal with limited staff. We found that proofreading was more efficient if two editors worked together, one reading aloud to the other. We had a way of reading that included shorthand expressions for capitalization, punctuation, and diacritical marks, of which there were many since much of the text was in foreign languages. For example, the sentence

Jacqui, resplendent in bleu foncé, asked, “Is D’Arcy here yet?”

would be read

Jacqui cap J a c q u i com resplendent e n t in bleu b l e u foncé f o n c e accent aigu bleu foncé in italics com asked com double quote cap Is D’Arcy cap D pos cap A r c y here yet question double quote

When we finished reading the text forwards, we’d read it backwards since you catch additional errors that way. The reader would periodically make intentional mistakes to make sure the listener was truly paying attention.


I publish and edit a small newspaper - and from my point of view it is never too late to proofread, edit and correct - right up until print time. Copy is usually placed directly into Pagemaker or InDesign when received, given a quick read-through and proof/edit, and then moved to its probable position on the draft page. When the page is full - with ads, stories and photographs to be used all roughly in place, then the whole lot are given a full once-over. At this stage the story can be adjusted for length, typographic infelicities can be removed and allowed for (eg rivers, hyphenation, column balancing), and headings, by-lines, photograph cropping etc can be used to give a visually satsifying page. We then usually pick up a few more glitches when checking the pdf files to be sent to the printers, and correct those before sending them off. And I guarantee that if I look at a year-old edition I’ll spot at least one error which should have been fixed!

Thanks everyone for your reply to my problem. I would love for the people that edit and proofread to use the style guide on the first two readings beforing sending to production.

I forgot the main reason I posted this about editing and proofing reading. The reason I am so upset is not the small errors that need to be corrected. It is the stories are rewritten over and over again by the five proof readers.
right now I am reworking a story that has been rewritten four times on the paper layout.

I just can’t get it across to everyone to rewrite the stories before we place them on the layout page.

Moving ads and photo each time I have to rework is a big waste of time.