A not so tearful goodbye to copy editing

Jake Hahn

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Jake

Looking back at the coveted AP style book before I wave copy editing at DGS goodbye.

An extremely important part of daily life for me is having constants. These are things to rely on occuring day after day to push a sense of familiarity, such as meals at specific times or daily activities. For me, every day I attend school I can expect to be engaging in a long activity: copy editing.

Copy editing is the act of searching articles for mistakes in spelling, grammar, style and redundancy, among other issues. It is about as mind numbing as test grading. Whether I enjoy it or not does not matter, as it is my job on this newspaper staff to memorize the aspects of our style and correct others on their mistakes.

I have edited many articles this year- I lost count after 60- and many patterns of mistakes have started to develop, so allow me to vent. Quotes should always be attributed with the interviewee’s name coming before the word “said,” and everyone’s names should always be spelled correctly. The frustration caused by constant correction has been immense.

There also comes a mental stress with working on the articles of your peers. Accepting criticism is not easy, and it is clear that the person correcting work can come off as a bit of a villain.

No one likes it when people put you down and highlight your mistakes, but just now realized how difficult it is to be the one in charge of mistake identification. It feels as though I’m committing so much of my time into being the class grump, the one everyone on the staff can blame for morale issues. I go into my work hoping I see nothing in order to avoid awkward social confrontation, even when nothing ever ends up happening.

More pressures exist in the form of time constraints; every physical newspaper that has gone out has required me and my fellow editors to work on every article present over the course of one weekend. I’m not a huge fan of spending my weekend searching through a sea of words just to pick out when someone missed a semicolon.

Copy editing is at its most enjoyable in a competitive setting. After competing on the DGS journalism team in copy editing, I can safely say that copy editing is fun as a leisure activity, much like sudoku. I am aware of how insane I now seem, but when you edit for yourself rather than others, it becomes more like a jigsaw puzzle to be solved.

I’m both saddened and relieved to be saying goodbye to copy editing for the Blueprint. Saddened because feeling as though I had a purpose in a grand machine felt very satisfying; I rarely feel like I have use, and it’s hard to deny that I have use here. I am still relieved, because looking at incorrect commas and quotes makes me want to karate chop a wooden board using my ripe forehead.

Regardless of my opinion, there is still something to be said about giving peers the ability to control quality. While I may have my fair share of complaints, the next copy editor for the Blueprint may not. I wish that unknown individual luck, and I recommend frequent movie breaks for those long weekends.