• Mark Allen

Cleaning copy: 29 or so pitfalls to avoid

I put this two-page list of tips together for a small newspaper chain recently. It’s available as a PDF on my Web site, I’m posting it here mainly in the interest of getting your feedback so I can touch it up. if y0u find it useful, feel free to download it from the Web site.

Below is a list of four of the most common issues to hit the copy desk. What follows is a list of some of my Twitter tips (@EditorMark) that might be particularly useful to reporters.

1. Errors in math. Don’t ignore the common-sense advice drilled into our heads in high school: Check your work. I would put the error rate in number-intensive stories at about 20 percent. Reread your stories, pull out the numbers, and make sure they work together. Quick tip: For percentages,