July 2011 Archives

Copy Editing Resources

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ACES: CopyDesk.org
The American Copy Editors Society site offers editing tips, contests, quizzes, headline writing exercises, conferences and much, much more.

A must-bookmark reference site for copy editors.



Thsrs: The Shorter Thesaurus
A great tool for headline writing. This thesaurus gives you synonyms the same length or shorter than the word you enter. This helps if you're stuck on a headline and can't think of a concise word to use on a tight headline count.

An excellent site on newspaper writing and reporting from Bob Baker of the LA Times. The site offers a dynamic e-newsletter on writing, editing and newsroom collaboration.

Editors Weblog

Editing a Web Site: Extending the Levels of Edit
Describes lessons learned by a university editing class when they edited a web site.

Yale's World Wide Web Style Manual
Describes lessons learned by a university editing class when they edited a website.

University Writing Style Guides
A large collection of online style guides.

A social network for newsroom trainers, started by Steve Buttry of No Train, No Gain. The site grew from the old Newscoach listserv.


American Heritage Dictionary

ACES Copy Editing Tests

Grammar.ccc: Sentence Subjects
Coverage of the uprising in Egypt.

ACES Iraq Information Page

The Elements of Style

Subversive Copy Editor
Great blog on editing issues and trends.

Loaded with tip sheets and articles, this site features work previously published in "The Write Way," some of which have been updated and revised for NewsCollege. Started in early 2006, the site covers many writing basics, such as tightening copy and eliminating weak quotes.

Blog promotes a book but also offers some classic mistakes in print journalism.

Word Police
Barbara Wallraff, The Atlantic Monthly's copy editing guru, writes a "Word Court" column that offers super advice.

Reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the press. It was launched in October 2004 by Craig Silverman, a freelance journalist and author based in Montreal.

AIM: Accuracy in Media
Explores fairness and balance in news stories. Covers recent issues with blogs and other updates.

Heads Up the Blog
Informative blog on copy editing and headlines.

Media Standards Trust
An independent, not for profit organization that promotes high standards in news on behalf of the public.

Stinky Journalism
Journalism, online journalism ethics and accuracy blog.

Mistakes in movies, books, etc.

Institute for Mid-Career Copy Editors: Grammar Smackdown!
Instructions on how to run a two-round test of your staff's knowledge of punctuation, spelling, grammar, style and, if you want, their ability to content edit. Developed by Ron Hartung of The Tallahassee Democrat and Debbie Gump of Ohio University.

Confusing Words
A database opf more than 3,000 words that get confused with other, or are difficult to understand. It?s great for sorting out small grammar issues, too.

Professor Charles Darling's Grammar Site
Outstanding to use as a quick reference for your grammar questions.

It Figures: Figures of Speech

Copyeditor's Knowledge Base
Proofreading and copy editing tools galore.

Your Dictionary.com: 100 Most Mispronounced Words

Your Dictionary.com: 100 Most Misspelled Words

Check your spelling as you submit a query.

The Vocabula Review

FreeSpeling.com (with one "l")
A fun little site on how the Web is revolutionizing spelling.

BBC Styleguide
.PDF format.

Economist Style Guide

CJR's Language Corner

Slanguage: Slang Terms
A collection of regional, national and international slang terms.

Packed with useful word search tools, enter whatever related word you can think of and the site will help you find what looking for. You can find words that rhyme, similar spellings, synonyms and antonyms, similar sounding words, match consonants and more.

Poynter.org: Why Copy Editing Matters

Reuters Handbook of Journalism

Poynter.org: Why Reporters Should Sit on the Copy Desk

Copy Editing Web Sites

Historic Headlines Need to Look Forward
A Storify curation by Steve Buttry on headline writing on big events. He uses the uprising in Egypt as an example.

NY Times Weekly News Quiz
Do you read the newspaper? You better!

Copy Editing Training
A lot of training material for copy editors on our Web site, which also provides information on a summer institute program, funded by the Knight Foundation.

AP Style Exercises Online
Developed by Ron Hartung, writing/editing coach at the Tallahassee Democrat.

Pantheon: Encyclopedia of Myths

Encyclopedia of Television
Simple-to-use site for fact-checking.

Grammar Resources Online
A quick guide to several grammar tools from the University of Chicago's writing program.

AP Stylebook Online
You make the call: A one-year subscription to the online version is $20. You can buy the print copy for $12.50. The site does have some "web-only" content.

Jack Lynch's Guide to Style

Crash Blossoms: Headlines Gone Wrong
A great site that highlights awful headlines and implied meanings. A must-bookmark for copy editors and teachers.

Addictionary: What's Your Word?
Look up obscure useful words here, including slang and pop-culture language.

The Vocabulary Review (Vocabula.com)

The Writing Center's Online Handouts

Phaster Lookups Reference Database
Do quick searches for reference tools: encylopedias, economic terms, legal dictionary, biblical reference, quotes and more. Great one-stop reference shopping.

HowjSay: Online Dictionary of English Pronunciation
Great tool for broadcasters. Just type in the word or select from a list and see how the word is pronounced.

Dictionaries on the Web
More than 100 links to dictionaries in 40 languages

Gallery of Misused Quotation Marks
Copy editors are into sites like this.

Today's Media Bloopers.

Newswriting Cliches

Cliche of the Day

West Egg ClicheFinder Search Engine
More than 3,300 indexed cliches. Look them up and edit them out of stories.

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Tips on writing, punctuation, grammar, usage, etc. Great podcasts where GG answers user-submitted questions.

Guide to Grammar and Writing

PoliticalQuotes.org: Eigen's Political & Historical Quotations
Great for fact-checking. More than 40,000 free quotations from more than 11,000 different historical and political figures in a searchable database.

RhymeZone Shakespeare Search Engine

The Virtual Chase: Checklist for Fact-Checking Web Site Information
A legal research site offers tips on evaluating information quality.

Cornell University: Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

KPlay Reference Tool
This site makes it simple to use different online reference works.

The Canadian Press Stylebook

The New York Times Manual of Style and Libel
You have to register. Then click on store, then books.

Resources for journalism instructors at many levels: high school, college, newsroom, etc.

Resources for college journalism instructors.


Avoid Holiday Cliches
From the American Copy Editors Society.


Editing for the Web
Covers design and editing tips, as well as training for web editors and offers pointers on how to make web products work.

My Favorite Word

Techniques for Writing Good Web Documents
An extensive list of specific do's and don'ts, with examples. Many of these tips are familiar to technical communicators but are often news to other writers. Includes a good discussion on when and how to use frames.

Worldwide Words
Michael Quinion writes about international English from a British perspective. Fun with pop culture catch phrases.

RegrettheError.com: 2008 -- The Year in Media Errors and Corrections

A great site for copywriting tips. Targeted to marketing/advertising but it also has resources for editorial copy editors.

Sun Microsystem's Style Guide

Forbes Investopedia
Dictionary of business terms, articles, tutorials, calculators and other helpful tools.

Tim Berners-Lee's CERN Style Guide

Criggo: Newspaper Mistakes

Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time

Writing With Numbers

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IRE Interactive Math Quiz
After you've taken the test, click on the link at the bottom of the page to find out how to arrive at the correct answers. The test covers calculating percentages, ages, murder rates, property tax bills, as well as estimating the size of a crowd and determine average and median salaries. The test is great for college journalism classes and newsroom training sessions.

Martindales' Reference Desk: Online Calculators
Links to dozens of types of online calculators.

Newslab's Getting the Numbers Right

Robert Niles: Statistics Writers Should Know
An excellent reference primer from the LA Times' Robert Niles on stats for journalists.Start here with several math tutorials!

Robert Niles: Figuring Percent Change

Newsthinking.com's Math Refresher
A great quick-study in figure percentages, ratios, etc.

The Megapenny Project
Help readers visualize large numbers in terms of pennies. Great for graphics.

Percent Change Calculator
Check your accuracy with this tool.

Inflation Calculator
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Currency Converter
Universal conversion tool.

Census: Statistical Abstract of the United States
The complete abstracts going back to 1995, mostly .PDFs of the book pages.

Currency Converter

Global Rich List Database

Math Mistakes
Common errors by reporters, advertisers, politicians and activists.

American Math Society: What's New in Mathematics
Includes a 'Feature Column' monthly essays on mathematical topics), 'Math in the Media' (highlights of math news from science literature and the current media), 'Math Digest' (summaries of articles on mathematics), and the 'AMS Public Awareness Office'(press releases, contacts for journalists, and more).

Eric Weisstein's World of Mathematics

No Train, No Gain: Numeracy Exercises

No Train, No Gain: Numeracy Resources

Matt Baron's "Go Figure" Site
Great tips for handling stats.

Exploring Data
A resource for educators who are teaching introduction to statistics, with some basic instruction that could be helpful to journalists.

No Train No Gain: Tips and Exercises
Handouts from training gurus Jack Hart and Joe Grimm and exercises by Debbie Wolfe.

Newslab's Internet Resources for News with Numbers
This site includes links to helpful online calculators.

Newslab's "Getting the Numbers Right"

Phil Meyer's Mathematics Competency Test for Journalists

Project for Excellence in Journalism's "Using Numbers"

Geneva International Forum
A listing of international organizations located in Geneva. The database is searchable by keywords.

MSNBC: Estimating Large Crowds
Steve Doig of Arizona State University uses a process to estimate large crowds. He uses Obama's Presidential Inauguration as an example.

How Much Is That?
A database of facts regarding various monetary values, etc. Good for conversions.

Investopedia: How the Dow Jones Is Calculated

FinanceCCH.com: Retirement Planning Calculator

CNNMoney.com: Retirement Planning Calculator

AOL Retirement Planning Calculator

Columbia University: Writing About Derivatives

John Allen Paulos: Mathematics
John Allen Paulos is a great source for math for journalists. He is a Professor of Mathematics at Temple and is a regular columnist on ABCNews.com.

History of Mathematics
Lots of solid background information.

Created by reporters, this site offers free computer tools, including cost-of-living calculators that adjust for inflation.

Online Conversion Tool
Site has more than 8,100 calculators and conversion tables.

Rankings and statistics on hundreds of topics and countries. The world?s cleanest country, the country with the most mobile phones per capita, etc.

A free provider of salary information from a veteran compensation and benefits consulting firm. It site shows pay data for over 30,000 jobs and displays pay data for more than 45,000 U.S./Canada cities.

Explores how journalists can use statistics.

More than 1,000 pre-solved problems, many with free answers, for geometry, trig, algebra, etc. A very handy site for journalists.

Salary Converter
Compare what you make with sports, entertainment stars.

Animated equations show you how the variables change. Great for working out problems.

Pew Research Center: The Daily Number
Daily stat "that highlights an important finding or trend."


Online Conversion
Offers thousands of calculators of various kinds.

QUData.com: Data Mining Tools and Library
Data mining and knowledge for journalists or anyone needing online calculators. The site features online tools and library resources.

Molecular Weight Calculator
Just input the formula, and it returns the molecular weight to 13 decimal places.

Math for Journalists
Bruce Garrison of Miami University has put together this remedial tutorial.

This site also has a good salary calculator.

Distance Converter

Currency Converter
A great site, but always double-check your findings against another calculator.

QUData: Data Mining Tools and Library
A great collection of online calculators, data mining, knowledge discovery online tools and library resources.

Federal Inflation Index
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Newsengin Inflation Calculator
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

FDIC: Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator
This interactive application that can help you learn about deposit insurance. Calculate the insurance coverage of your accounts at each FDIC-insured institution.

West Egg Inflation Calculator
Calculate increases in prices over the years.

Auriton Solutions
Calculators figure your cost of credit and the size of a mortgage you can afford.

Bankrate.com Gas Price Calculators

CalculateWhat Online Calculators

UnitsConverter.net Measurement Converters

University of North Carolina: Math Test for Journalists

Conversion tables for cooking measurements.

"Interactive calculators for many measurement systems both commonly used like metric and U.S. Avoirdupois and quite exotic like Ancient Greek and Roman."

"Math Tools for Journalists" Book
Written by veteran educator Kathleen Woodruff Wickham Ed.D., "Math Tools" explains math concepts in layman?s language and shows how these concepts apply to situations journalists face every day. Cost: $16.95.

Interest Calculator
Determine compounded daily interest.

Interest Calculator
Track the difference a small percentage change in interest can make on an investment over time.

Universal Currency Converter
Contains currency information on 180 currencies in over 250 geographical locations.

Check Your Weight on Other Planets

The Original Tipping Page
Lists acceptable amounts for specific situations.

How many seconds do you have left?

Days To Pay Calculator: How Long Until You Pay It Off?
Enter the cost of an item and other information compute how long it will take to pay off the item you want to purchase. Helpful for writers doing consumer spending stories.

U.S. Census Bureau: U.S. and World Population Clock
Database allows you to search releases, warnings and news from the Food and Drug Administration.

NewsEngin Cost-of-Living Calculator

USA Today: State-by-State Population Growth (1790-2000)

Center for Environment and Population
CEP partners with leading experts and organizations to link science, to policy, and public outreach to better understand and address the issues. It helps compile, assess, and advance current knowledge and emerging trends on population and the environment.

Robert Niles: Writing with Statistics

Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
Tips on writing, punctuation, grammar, usage, etc. Great podcasts where GG answers user-submitted questions.

Guide to Grammar and Writing

This site converts measurements, distances, weights, etc. into objects that people can relate to. For example, four acres equals three football fields or 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Very handy for developing graphics and writing about sizes of buildings and lots.

Historical Currency Conversions

A great site for analyzing numbers and coming up with odd facts and figures for stories. It's great for comparing sizes, weights and gives the reader some perspective.

History of Mathematics Archive
Searchable, and browsable by topics.

Good Math, Bad Math Blog
Blog on consumer math, economics, etc., from computer scientist Mark C. Chu-Carroll.

Employee Benefit Research Corp.: Savings Rate Analysis
Projects savings/investments over periods of time. Click on "Ballpark Estimate" tool.

T. Row Price: Retirement Calculator

National Credit Union Administration Deposit Insurance Estimator

FDIC: Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator

Ultimate Unit Converter

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Consumer Price Index Database
Select an item (gas, food, etc.) and track price increases nationally over time. Great quick reference for stories. You also can track it by region or major metropolitan area by using the image map and pulldown menu on this page

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Inflation Calculator

Encyclopedia of Mathematics
More than 8,000 entries.

Science U
A spinoff site from the Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota, this site explains science in basic terms.

Institute for Analytic Journalism

Learner.org: Math in Daily Life

Water Calculator
Form helps you determine how much water you use in a day.

CPI Inflation Calculator

Catalog of Math Resources
A great set of links from the University of Wisconsin.

WWW Virtual Library: Mathematics
More great links from Florida State University.

Fun with tax statistics.

Mathematics of Tsunamis
The math and physics rules that govern them.

We wanted to share a good example of how to put some large numbers or obscure measurements into context that the average reader can relate to:

Q. Is there some way to put 488 acres into context, i.e., what is that as big as?

A. One acre is equivalent to 43,560 sq. feet or 4,840 sq. yards. One football field is equivalent to 57,240 Sq. feet. So one acre is 76% the size of a football field. In the Midwest, farms were homesteaded and also sold by the railroads in quarter sections. A section is 640 acres. A section is also one square mile. A quarter section is 160 acres. Three quarter sections add up to 480 acres. Where I am from in Iowa the farmers often talk in terms of how many farms a person has. If the farm was 488 acres the farmer would call that three farms or 3/4 of a section. Or just 488 acres.


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