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Tips for Proofreading

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MeanGreenATO, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    So, I've been slumping and I've had to run more corrections than I would have liked over the last week or so. And it's all simple stuff that I've glossed over, even after I've read a story a few times to make sure everything's correct. And then I'll go back over something and of course, something's wrong.

    I was wondering if anybody has any proofreading rituals or tips that could help me out.
  2. NDJournalist

    NDJournalist Active Member

    Not any rituals, but I will say, above all else, make sure names are spelled correctly.
  3. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    I knew you took a Journalism class once. I just knew it.
  4. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    If the letters F, U, C, and K are all next to each other...find a different way to say it.
  5. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I read at least once from the bottom up. Disrupts the story flow and lets you concentrate on each sentence a bit more carefully. Also, it often helps me to assure I've got first names in proper spot.
  6. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Do not do the proofread(s) immediately after writing the story.

    Pay particular attention to names and other vitals like age, locations, etc., and also specifically check places in the story where the word "not" should be (did not, could not, and most importantly NOT guilty, etc.), and make sure the word is actually there. It's easy, as you're writing, to think about/be saying/seeing that word in your mind as you're working on the story but have your fingers go right past it and not type it. (This is largely why most media now generally use "innocent" in places where legal pleas and decisions are discussed).

    This has always been an editing issue for me, I know. My stuff, even in posts, is generally clean on first glance (I think), but sometimes, I'll leave words out.

    (And, hopefully, see/catch it later).

    All this said, proofreading beyond the at-a-glance spelling/grammar issues is different than the making and catching of actual reporting or writing mistakes.

    The former is proofreading. The latter is actual editing.
  7. baddecision

    baddecision Active Member

    I, too, read once from the last graf up.

    Also, I stop at every first name in a high school story, because it's very easy to mix up older brothers/sisters with current kids.

    If you are in the office, have a bunch of photocopies of each team's roster at your desk and check off each name as you proof it so that you can catch any misspellings and avoid repeat first-name references.

    If you are facing deadline, always save time to give a read. The more important it is to finish quickly, the more vital it is to proofread carefully. A clumsy phrase, you can do better next time. A screwed up score or name, that stuff doesn't get forgotten.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Get some more sleep. Seriously.
  9. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    We all get the yips, but making sure you don't take shots for getting the shits (Hi Rosey!) is a good thing.
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    What kind of mistakes are you making?
  11. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    On nights when I'm solo on the desk and have to cover something, after I write and give it a read, I'll put it aside for an hour while doing something else, then take another look at it.
  12. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    Vers, it's misspelling a name or putting down that somebody's ranked No. 4 when they're No. 5. Easy stuff that you want to kick yourself for after you realize it's wrong. And these tips are great, everybody. Keep 'em coming.
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