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Sunday, July 22, 2012

"A good copy editor is a reporter’s best friend"

The role of the copy editor in the newsroom remains an adversarial one. There’s no getting round that; copy editing requires critical analysis of other people’s work. It can lead to tension. Smart leaders try to defuse that tension and foster constructive relationships among groups of journalists. They correctly point out that a good copy editor is a reporter’s best friend someone who will head off mistakes, is a trusted sounding board for risk-taking writing, and burnishes the reporter’s copy with headlines that invite the reader. Improving relationships between copy editors and the rest of the newsroom needs to be an important factor in our deliberations.

From "Copy Editors: Journalism’s Interior Linemen", a tribute by Gene Foreman, who was the deputy editor and vice president of the Philadelphia Inquirer when he wrote this piece for Poynter.org in August 2002.