Style, Editing & Headlines Training

  About this Lesson

Gerri Berendzen, University Daily Kansan Editorial Adviser, University of Kansas;
was Knight visiting assistant professor,
Print and Digital Journalism,
Missouri School of Journalism,
University of Missouri

Journalists who edit news copy are both the quality control for the newsroom and the reader’s representative. A copy editor’s mandate is to make sure news stories are clear, correct and consistent — and answer all of the reader’s questions. As the last line of defense against errors, copy editors need knowledge of grammar, punctuation, style and the power of language. These editors also sell the reporter’s work by writing headlines that entice a person to read the story.

What you will learn

After completing this unit, you should be able to:

  • Use a stylebook and identify common style issues.
  • Explain the copy editor’s role in the news production process.
  • Identify basic copy editing marks.
  • Do basic fact checking.
  • Recognize the most common grammar errors.
  • Write basic headlines.

How the lesson works

First of all, this is an asynchronous lesson unit, which means no live events are scheduled for this lesson. You can complete learning activities at your own pace whenever is convenient for you. Despite the asynchronous nature, the learning tasks are organized to help you succeed.

To be successful in this unit, please complete the following tasks:

• Watch the lecture.
• Take the quiz to test your own understanding.  This will help you to strengthen the concepts you just learned.
Optional: Due to the amount of content to be covered in a single unit, we encourage you read these additional resources. Some of the quiz questions might come from the readings in Additional Resources section.

Watch the Lecture



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 Take the Quiz


Direction: Some of the questions might from the readings in Additional Resources below


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Lesson Resources

Lecture Script: Download it here

Printable Quiz: Style, Editing & Headlines

ASNE Classroom Resources

Lessons: Style, Editing and Headlines

Additional Resources

American Copy Editors Society online resource page

Storify stories of ACES Twitter chats on grammar, usage, dictionaries and other editing questions, resources for editing teachers, students and working professionals:

William Strunk Jr., “The Elements of Style

The Verification Handbook” edited by Craig Silverman

John E. McIntyre, Baltimore Sun: “You Don’t Say

Wordnik and Merriam-Webster online, two online dictionaries

Meriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary Q&A

Bill Walsh, THE SLOT: “What exactly is a copy editor

Todd Kistler, American Copy Editors Society: “Fighting plagiarism and fabrication

Mark Allen, Mark Allen Editorial: “Favorite resources for freelance editors

Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, “The Copyeditors’ Knowledge Base

Working with Words,” 8th edition, Brian S. Brooks, James L. Pinson, Jean Gaddy Wilson, Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2013

The AP Stylebook

Purdue Online Writing Lab


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