Department of English

Jessica Knight

DJNF Editing Internship  

Changing the World One Edit at a Time

               I edit copy. It's just what I do.

               When I buy birthday cards, I can only buy ones that are edited properly. If I sit in a lecture or some type of service, I will edit the PowerPoint slides. I have forgotten to take notes because I become wrapped up in appreciating the use of a comma. I tell my friends I want to sponsor a hockey team and call them the mighty commas.

               Editing is just a part of my life. Some people view it as an annoyance; I look at it as a super power. 

               Recently, I read an article in the local newspaper and the headline read "Students Pulled to Diploma." Below it was a picture of funeral bouquets being placed in a van. The story was about a high school senior who was going to an alternative school program while raising his young son.  However, based on the photo and the headline, I had no idea what the story was about. Readers should know what they are getting into as soon as they see a headline.

That is one reason why I am passionate about clarity, accuracy and conciseness.

               The same article had photo descriptions that were two paragraphs. A reader just needs to know the gist of what the photo is. They don't need another story. As a copy editor, my job is not to write stories. My job is to grab a reader's interest and give them the facts in precise, tight statements or phrases.         

               Because this article was poorly edited, the information seemed unreliable and the individual's accomplishments seemed discreditable.  Poorly edited news can lead to a loss of trust between the public and the news provider. I want to use my skills to help build the trust and respectability the news deserves.

               Similarly, I am working on an article for UNCW's marketing and communications office about business innovation during the current economic downturn and I was researching recent budget cuts at the state university level. I was reading an article on a news organization's website, when I noticed "16-campus system" was spelled "16-camups system." Though it seems like a small misspelling, it is this type of error that discredits the news and online is not the place for inaccuracies.

               Readers need access to accurate and clear information, regardless of the medium. Like many, I get most of my news from online sources. News organizations need to get their information online quickly and I am prepared to edit accurately and under short deadlines.

               This emphasis on the relationship between the quality of the editing and the perception of the public becomes even more important as more media outlets shift their operations from paper to online resources. I want to give the public the most accurate news possible. Being a member of a news producing team would allow me to do my part in creating reliable and respected news.