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COPYREADING AND HEADLINE WRITING: More than Just Marks and Words

By Marnela Kathleen V. Pasamba Objectives: 1. Define briefly what copyreading and headline writing is. 2. Describe the role of copyreaders and headline writers (copy fixers). 3. Give the checklist for editors. 4. Explain what headlines are. 5. Give some pointers and rules in writing headlines. 6. Teach the mechanics of headline writing. 7. Give some interactive exercises on the use of copyreading signs and symbols and headline writing. What is COPYREADING AND HEADLINE WRITING? It is the way of improving a story and making an appropriate headline for the article. The ROLE of Copy Fixers Good copy fixers keep the spirit and substance of the story. He/She basically brightens and polishes the article. He makes the story better by organizing it better than when it was submitted. 8-Step Checklist for Editors 1. Read the story quickly and get its main idea. 2. Correct obvious errors of facts or spelling. 3. Rewrite the lead, if necessary. 4. Break up long paragraphs into shorter ones. 5. Decide if the story is too long for its relative value. Trim it as needed. 6. Look for mistakes in punctuation, grammar and facts. 7. Watch for potentially libelous statements. Make sure it is accurate and fair to all sides. 8. Write the headline. What are HEADLINES? Headlines are display windows of newspapers. It is a quick source of information about the story. 7-Pointers in Headline Writing 1. Skeletonize it. Omit unnecessary words and articles. 2. Use present tense in stories that already happened and use the infinite form of the verb for future actions. 3. Use active voice. 4. Avoid to be words. 5. Be specific. Use precise words. 6. Be accurate and direct. 7. Avoid exclamation points or other punctuations.

Rules in Headline Writing 1. The head should tell the gist of the story simply and clearly. 2. Apply the rule of capitalization. 3. Lines should not end with a preposition. 4. Never use may. 5. Assertions in a headline should have a source. 6. Dont convert verbs into nouns. 7. Use shorter words whenever possible. Mechanics of Headline Writing A Technical Instruction or The Printers Directions 2-24 BB UN W/KICKER Meaning: - The first number means that the headline will run across two columns of the page. - The second number stands for the font size to be used. - BB (Bold Bodoni) indicates the font type. - UN stands for universe, a type style. - Kicker refers to the preliminary head. - The two lines below refer to the number of lines your headline will have. Headline Patterns 1. Crossline 2. Dropline 3. Flush Left 4. Hanging Indention 5. Inverted Pyramid 6. Flush Right

Counting the Headline 1. All small letters except liftj and mw are counted as 1. 2. All capital letters except IMW are counted as 1. 3. All punctuation marks except the , ?, $ and % are counted as 1. 4. All figures and spaces are counted as 1. 5. Small m and w are counted as 1. 6. Capital M and W are counted as 2. 7. Small liftj are counted as . See Supplemental Lectures for Additional Information Its time for exercises.

References: - The UST Varsitarian Campus Press Stylebook


Journalism for Filipinos Revised Edition by Alito L. Malinao Campus and Community Journalism Handbook by Alito Malinao

Exercise article taken from this website: http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/local/west_nile_infected_mosq uitoes_found_in_orange_county_07-25-2008.html

Name: __________________________________________________ COPYREADING AND HEADLINE WRITING EXERCISES Exercise I. Copyreading Signs and Symbols Direction: Illustrate through signs and symbols actions/remarks. Copy fixers Actions/Remarks the following copy fixers

To Be Edited Always mark all proofse Always markproofs properly. Always mak profs properly. Always proofs makr properly. Always m ark proofs prop erly. Always mark proof Always mark proof Mark Proofs Always mark proofs properly. Always mark proofs. Mark them properly. Always mark proofs properly. Always mark proofs properly. Always mark proof Never mark proofs properly Proofs if properly marked Always mark proof properly

1. Delete; take out 2. Insert space 3. Insert letter(s) or word(s) 4. Transpose letters or words 5. Close up; no space 6. Align with left margin 7. Align with right margin 8. Center 9. Start new paragraph 10. Do not start new paragraph 11. Do not start new line 12. Do not make correction;
Let stand as written

13. This is wrong; see copy 14. This is questionable;


Check or query author

15. Insert comma 16. Insert period

17. Insert apostrophe 18. Insert quotation marks 19. Insert hyphen 20. Insert dash 21. Spell out 22. Align

The proofs in the proof mark. He said, Mark proofs properly. The writer editor marks proofs. Always not sometimes marks. Proofing is a no. 1 priority. Alw ys mark oofs properly. a pr

Exercise II. Word Equivalents Direction: Think of the shorter word that would mean the same as the words given below. Choose the words in the Word Bank provided. WORD BANK
Hail Cite Link Junk Nix Quit Lull Nab Accord Curb Feud Cop Body Rift Dip Hit Probe/Grill Bid/Ask Quiz Bare

1. Agreement 2. Arrest 3. Expose, reveal 4. Enumerate, mention 5. Committee 6. Decrease, go down 7. Quarrel, dispute 8. Restrain, control 9. Invite, request 10. Investigate 11. Resign 12. Question 13. Policeman 14. Impede, thwart 15. Connect 16. To discard, throw away 17. Calm 18. Disagreement, quarrel 19. Without 20. Welcome

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Exercise III. Turning Complex to Simpler Words Direction: Choose from the Word Bank the common words that can best replace the highbrow words given below. WORD BANK
Use Flood Tell End Get Big Give Show Ask Live Call See Ill Go Buy Stop Lie Most Jail Seat Class Help Try Star/Open

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Indisposed Monumental Terminate Witness Purchase Utilize 7. Majority 8. Reside 9. Procure 10. Proceed 11. Contribute 12. Inquire/Request 13. Endeavor/Attempt 14. Summon 15. Category 16. Prevaricate 17. Incarcerate 18. Inaugurate 19. Facilitate 20. Inundate 21. Demonstrate 22. Accommodate 23. Discontinue 24. Inform

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Exercise IV. Verbal Deadwoods Direction: Replace the wordy phrase to a preferable word. Use the Word Bank as your reference. WORD BANK
Although Act Because If/When Now/Today Scarce Signed Married Resigned Now Met Escaped

1. Despite the fact 2. Take action on the issue 3. For the reason that 4. Tendered his resignation 5. Affixed his signature 6. Held a conference 7. In the event of 8. Make good his escape 9. At this moment in time 10. United in holy matrimony 11. In short supply 12. At the present time

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Exercise V. Spelling Time Direction: Please write the word dictated by the speaker.

1. ______________ 9. ______________ 2. ______________ 10. ______________ 3. ______________ 11. ______________ 4. ______________ 12. ______________ 5. ______________ 13. ______________ 6. ______________ 14. ______________ 7. ______________ 15. ______________ 8. ______________ Exercise VI. Headline Writing and Counting Direction: Write a headline in the short article given below. Count it and write the printers directions. Note: The headline should run in two columns and should not be more than 40 points. Headline: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Two mosquitoes collected in Orange County have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a Friday press release from the Orange County Mosquito Control District. The mosquitoes, collected from areas north and south of Interstate 10 between FM 1135 and Doty Road, are the first samples to test positive this year, according to the release. Residents are encouraged to take precautions such as using repellants containing DEET or picaridin and moving indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. People should wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing and drain any standing water from property, according to the district. Symptoms of the virus appear from three to 14 days after someone has been bitten by an infected mosquito, according to the release. These symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. A more severe infection might result in stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, coma and paralysis.