Introduction

Every evening, in every kind of newsroom, editors gather to turn the day's news into tomorrow's news report. They come from throughout the newsroom - department editors, content editors, graphics editors - but it is the news editor and the copy editors who are the final gatekeepers, the last guardians of an organization's character and reputation. This conference gathered editors from across the industry to consider some of journalism's most critical issues: hiring, training, diversity, technology and the online future. Nowhere are these questions more urgent than on the copy desk, which sits at the nexus of what we did yesterday and what we need to do tomorrow. [more]

The Value of Editing

John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, opened the conference with John McIntyre, assistant managing editor, copy desks, The Baltimore Sun, and president of the American Copy Editors Society.

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 Video of Seigenthaler's comments

How did we get here and where are we going?

John Russial, associate professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and John McIntyre trace the evolution of copy desks and lead a discussion of technology's implications for the future work of copy editors.

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The brains of reporters, assigning editors and copy editors

Jacqui Banaszynski, associate managing editor of The Seattle Times and Knight Chair at the University of Missouri, offers advice for meshing the dual (and sometimes dueling) worlds of reporters, assigning editors and copy editors.

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 PowerPoint

PowerPoints require MS Internet Explorer

Forward into the future

Janice Castro, assistant dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, pulls together the research to help desks prepare for the converged world of online news and information.

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 PowerPoint 1 (from Janice Castro)
 PowerPoint 2 (from Janice Castro)
 PowerPoint 1 (from Elizabeth Osder)
 PowerPoint 2 (from Elizabeth Osder)
 PowerPoint (from Nora Paul)

PowerPoints require MS Internet Explorer

Why copy desks matter

Bob Giles, curator of the Nieman Foundation, explains why an effective copy desk is an essential guardian of a profitable newspaper's character and reputation.

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Recruiting, training and creating leaders

Walter Middlebrook, associate editor for recruitment at Newsday, and Jerry Sass, former copy desk chief at the Portland Oregonian and now at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, describe how to find and develop great copy editors.

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 Handout "Promoting diversity"

Fault lines and demographics

Copy editors are key to making sure stories accurately reflect the community. Dori Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, provides strategies to help all journalists understand the fault lines of generation, race, class, gender and geography.

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 Newsroom exercise
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Focus on accuracy

Getting the facts right is crucial to a news organization's credibility. Margaret Holt, who supervises the Chicago Tribune's accuracy program, describes how and why the program works.

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Preparing for 10 years down the road

How will your copy desk face whatever's down the road? Some ideas from Karen Brown Dunlap, president of the Poynter Institute; Janet Weaver, former dean of Poynter and now managing editor of the Tampa Tribune; Julie Moos, Poynter's online news editor; and Mike Cutler, news director at NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, Tenn.

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