1: Editing in the age of the Internet

Newspaper copy editors are like football's offensive guards: The only time they get noticed is if they make a mistake.
Copy editors are responsible for editing stories, writing headlines, checking facts and then putting it all together on the page.
After spending the past three months reading everything I could on editing and newspaper Internet sites, I have found a number of themes impacting editors in the online world. They follow under this post, but here is a brief summary of each topic.

2: The reality of the Internet
Robert Koopsmans was responsible for putting the Kamloops Daily News on the Internet back in 1992, one of the first Canadian papers to make it online.
He did it in his own time, as a hobby, and handed the reigns over to a colleague 18 months later. For Koopmans, after the novelty wore off, he set about refocusing on his true passion—journalism. That reality has hit a lot of journalists as their papers rushed to the web with high expectations. Not all have materialized.

3: Headlines matter most
One of the most useful skills an editor can have is the ability to write strong headlines.
This is important for the paper edition, but, according to journalism expert Jakob Nielsen, it’s vital for the Internet. Not only do your heads have to appeal to humans, but they also have to attract the attention of Google, Yahoo and MSN.

4: In defence of shovelware
Shovelware—taking a story from a newspaper’s print edition and putting it online with little or no thought to utilizing the strengths of the Internet—is a swearword to some. But for Canada's daily newspapers, it is a reality and an economic necessity.

5: To link or not to link
Newspapers have been mulling over this question ever since they went online. The conundrum is simple: Do you want to keep readers on your site or do you want to give them a value-added package and be seen as a unlimited source of information?

6: You too can be a prosumer
Citizen journalism is coming of age. Those that report the news are also consuming it and making money for their "bosses" at NowPublic and OhMyNews in the process. But instead of spelling the end of "real" journalism, these citizen sites are actually creating work for competent editors.

7: Offshoring
Newspaper editors should have some semblance of job security. Unless their newspaper shuts its doors, there should be a demand for those who know words. True, but just not here: Like tech support and call centre operations, these duties can be outsourced.

8: Experts on editing
After reading hundreds of thousands of words by some of the brightest journalists on the planet, one thing became perfectly clear—everyone has an opinion. Some of the best suggestions and tips have made it on to Poynter Online or the Online Journalism Review and are reprinted here.

9: What now?
Thomas Edison once said "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work." Online newspapers have found a few ways of their own that do not work. But that's not stopping them from moving ahead. Here are a few of their plans for the future.

10: The survey says
I sent a basic questionnaire to the online editor (or someone in position of deciding what stories appear on their paper's website) at every English-language daily newspaper in Canada. Of the 87, 15 sent back replies. This is what they had to say.

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