10 Copyediting Commandments

  1. Thou shalt include full names except when rare wormholes rend the universe.
  2. Thou shalt include multiple sources instead of depending on one for the entire story.
  3. Thou shalt include all contact information and attribution – and hopefully a headline – when you send your document to the void.
  4. Thou shalt spell out all state names in stories.
  5. Thou shalt not use “today,” “tonight,” “tomorrow,” or “yesterday.” Thou shalt use day of the week.
  6. Thou shalt refer to WKU only as WKU and “the university,” lowercase. Not “Western,” not “the University.”
  7. Thou shalt not capitalize “Professor” or use “Prof.” as a title before a name. Thou shalt only use “Dr.” for medical physicians.
  8. Thou shalt not represent dialect in quotes with words like “gonna” or “goin’.”
  9. Thou shalt not begin or end quotes with ellipses (…) except in rare circumstances like long quotes of multiple paragraphs.
  10. Thou shalt use the Webster’s New World College Dictionary when you need spellings. It’s free online; just save the link.
Photo friends:
  • Thou shalt abbreviate state names in captions.
    • Thou shalt include dates as follows:
    • Photo taken same week paper published: weekday only. (Sunday)
    • Photo taken same year paper published: month and date. (Feb. 14)
    • Photo taken before current year: month, date, and year. (Feb. 14, 2014)

These are the biggies for now. Eventually I can send updated/expanded editions tailored to editors as we find things over the semester. Let me know if there are any particular things you find especially tricky or want in writing for your staffers, and I’ll put it on the list as an easy reminder!

-Copy Desk

Created by Callie Compton