ZAC CAHILL
COPY EDITOR

As I come to the close of my senior year at Alma and finish my final weeks with the Almanian, I’ve been asked to write about and reflect on the time I’ve spent with the paper.

I started working for the Almanian during my sophomore year at Alma as the layout editor of the “Thoughts” section of the paper; I also wrote weekly articles for the same section, generally writing album reviews which were more of just a way to shamelessly plug stuff I liked than anything else. I was fired in the winter semester of that year for not showing up to do edits one Sunday.

Luckily, neither the editor-in chief at the time nor myself had hard feelings about it, and the following fall I was hired back in the position of copy editor. This is what I’ve done for the paper since.

Copy editing is pretty simple: I just read some number of stories each week and make changes to stories as needed. Some weeks I get lucky and the errors are few, and some weeks I can spend over an hour or so working stories into being clear and readable.

In my few years editing, I’ve learned a great deal about some of the ways to effectively edit a writer’s original words without sacrificing their message, as well as how to communicate to writers the ways in which they can improve their writing and become more consistent in things such as journalistic style.

This part is tricky and has been a side of editing that I have long struggled with yet have more recently been becoming more comfortable doing. While I still feel a bit awkward in describing edits or notes, being a copy editor for this long has in some ways made me more confident in knowing and communicating aspects of grammar or style. I have also learned not to become frustrated or worry when advice goes unheeded and quality becomes difficult to maintain.

Overall, my time at the Almanian has been a good way to strengthen some of the things that I’ve learned through my major, as well as an opportunity to gain some experience in a semiprofessional journalistic setting.