This course is for anyone looking to polish off writing—either their own or someone else's. We'll discuss the ins and outs of rearranging commas and correcting grammar, of course, but we'll also go much deeper into how to handle writing on sensitive subjects and how to communicate effectively with writers and other editors. Students will learn what makes a modern copy editor who can expertly refine anything from tweets to longform work. They'll practice making swift, thoughtful changes to copy that let the writer's unique voice shine. We'll also review what goes into crafting style guide entries of our own and highlight must-have copy editing resources. Students will walk away with an understanding of how to copy edit with confidence.
Readings will include articles by Diana Moskovitz and Henry Fuhrmann, as well as style guides from BuzzFeed and the Trans Journalists Association.
No prior copy editing experience necessary.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Receive personalized feedback from the instructor on a tracked-changes assessment, as well as peer edits on a 500-word writing sample
- Learn best practices for copy editing short- and longform, along with resources to fine-tune skills
- Develop skills to craft and edit stylebook entries
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
The students are expected to read four articles on copy editing before class, as well as bring about 500 words they've written or edited for peer review. In the week after class, they will take a one-hour copy editing assessment (which involves tracking changes to correct errors on a sample article) so that I can provide individualized feedback.
- make intros and learn what everyone wants to get out of the course
- go over common grammar, punctuation, and style mistakes
- discuss readings and how to justify copy edits you want to make to a piece of writing
- peer-edit each other's roughly 500-word samples (I will have some text on hand for those who forget to bring a sample)
- discuss what makes a clear, concise style guide entry, with examples
- share resources for copy editors including style guides and networks
Julie Kliegman is a journalist based in Queens, New York. She is currently the copy chief for Sports Illustrated, where she was hired in 2020 to modernize the print and digital copy desk. Previously, she copy edited and wrote for The Ringer. Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Vulture, Vox, The Verge, and more.
"Julie Kliegman is an insightful writer whose body of work spans sports, cultural criticism, mental health, and more. Her prose is sharp and thorough and she brings both rigor and lyricism to these topics. Any student would be lucky to be guided by Julie."
"Julie is a dogged reporter with an eye for stories that engage readers and give a spotlight to subjects that are too often ignored in sports media. Her day job as a copy chief shows through in her prose: it's neither purple nor overly sparse. Julie's writing is clean, and there's nothing an editor (or reader!) likes more than that."
"There’s no person I trust more than Julie Kliegman when it comes to fixing copy. Her sharp eye and understanding of voice allows her to ensure sentences not only follow the laws of the land, but sound better than they did before she read them. Julie has saved me from myself more times than I can count, and there isn’t a story she’s edited that isn’t better off for it. Even more impressive, she has a remarkable ability to explain the logic behind her changes, giving her students and writers a chance to learn alongside her."
"Julie is one of the best editors I have ever had the opportunity to work with. She is incredibly diligent and thoughtful, and approaches language from a subject-centered place, willing to let people's preferences and identities lead the way over a rigid insistence that there is only one right way to use words. Julie is a collaborator and has an inherent understanding that language is always evolving, and makes herself an active participant in that evolution. She approaches stories and writers with compassion, and her editing undoubtedly brings out the best in my work."
"Julie is the working definition of a skilled, sensitive copy editor. She thinks deeply about effective, fun, sensitive ways to use language. Julie has a rare level of awareness that allows her to bear down on the minute details and also think about the big picture every time she edits a piece. I learned a lot from Julie, and you will too."