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Strategic Copy Editing

Russial, John
Publisher:  The Guilford Press
Year Published:  2004  
Pages:  280pp   Price:  $35   ISBN:  1-57230-926-1

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Russial teaches editing at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism. He had spent twelve years at the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper as Sunday copy chief. This is a basic book on how to edit for grammar and punctuation, usage and style, fairness and focus, and headlines. He also has sections on how to negotiate with reporters, other editors, and layout designers. Editors are intermediaries. Strewn throughout the book are editing strategies, practical tips, examples. There is a chapter on accuracy (fact checking) and inaccuracy, with consequences explained. As I always said, "Look it up - you'll remember it longer. But screw it up - you'll remember it forever." I know that many journalism students are turned off by the detailed work demanded of copyediting. I taught courses in fact checking, and it was no breeze. Most students gave me the excuse that they were going into broadcasting, or sports writing, or advertising or PR. Hmmmmm#Russial also ahs material on the use of computers and software, with a good section on spellcheckers. This book can be a bit overwhelming to read, so it would be safer to just chunk it. There are endnotes but no bibliography.

Audience or interest level: journalism schools, self-learners, people who need some brushing up.

Some interesting facts: "Reviewing the mistakes I missed in proofreading [this book] confirmed my suspicion that everyone needs a copy editor, especially a copy editor".

What I don't like about this resource: too US based for me, with US examples.

What I do like about this resource: pragmatic

Quality-to-Price Ratio: 84.

[Review by John Russial[

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