If at first you don’t succeed, write and write again

As the print copy editor, I am in charge of editing all content published in the print publication of the West Side Story. This role was taken a step further when working with another staffer, Jessica, on her profile of a teenage couple raising a child. Because this was a difficult, controversial topic to cover, Jessica asked for assistance periodically throughout the profile’s creation.

I attended the initial interview and helped Jessica ask questions. Once she conducted more interviews and drafted the story, I spent hours leaving comments. We then worked to resolve various issues together. This is a screen recording of the three days of editing put together and sped up to 20 times the actual speed.

These screenshots compare what the story looked like during the editing process to the final draft.


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The story that became “An unexpected addition” went on to win a “Best of SNO” award. It also became our most widely read online story of the year, garnering over 2000 page views in under two weeks.

Copy That

Before the school year starts, staff copy editors traditionally gather together to create an “AP Style Guide” for all West Side Story affiliated journalism courses to follow. Guiding the other copy editors, I created a template for what categories this edit guide should include. I also updated this guide throughout the course of the year as frequent errors occurred.


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Once the official calendar year commenced, this guide was summarized and converted into a live presentation. I gave a bootcamp to new and returning staffers alike on AP Style-related information, including common errors, writing suggestions, and other important info to writing a grammatically sound story (sans Oxford commas, of course).

(Lede)ing the way

Halfway through the year, I realized that while our reporters’ quality of work was growing, ledes still seemed to be a struggle consistently throughout the class. Thus, I prepared a presentation for all reporters including numerous lede formats and examples of how they have been used in West Side Story in the past.