A refresher course on line editing

Follow these five steps before you put the copy to bed.

Your reporters (if you’re lucky enough to have any) have filled in all the holes and answered all of your questions.

You’ve wrestled with the copy and you’re finally satisfied that the story is organized logically and reads well. Miraculously, the story has survived the approval process with only minimal irritations from the front office.

Are you ready to let go?

Not so fast, sparky. You’ve got one more job to do, and it’s often an overlooked one. It’s time for a final line edit.

Call it line editing, copyediting or proofreading, but this last look at the copy can make the difference between a decent story and a good read. With all the other problems out of the way, this is when you’ll find those glaring, embarrassing errors that you missed the previous four times through.

Why do all that work only to miss a big whopping mistake that you know will leap off the page when the newsletter comes back from the printer?

Take a deep breath. You’re almost home. Here’s your final editing checklist:

1. Check your style. There’s a lot of sloppiness in corporate writing, because many stories never get one last look. This is the time to review the little things:

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