Copy Editor, Community Newspaper
The award-winning Sanpete Messenger, a weekly newspaper based in Manti, UT, seeks a person living in Utah within 150 miles of Manti to help us provide technically clean, clear and complete news and feature stories to our 2,000 readers. This is a part-time, home-based job, although you will be required to come into the Manti office (at our expense) for initial training, and, periodically, for special projects. We have had difficulty finding the skills required in our rural area, but have had success through the years with remote copy editors.
- Edit copy, much of it written by people who are sincere and intelligent but have no previous writing training, to conform to conventional punctuation, grammar, usage, spelling and AP style.
- Clear up problems with organization and syntax, and tighten up wordy discourse, while preserving the writer’s words and style to the greatest extent possible.
- Recognize factual errors and inconsistencies, and instances where an article leaves unanswered questions. Use references that will be provided and the Internet to clear things up. As needed, get on the phone, call sources, correct the facts and fill in the gaps. Some items require a top-to-bottom rewrite.
- Write some items fresh. Often these are routine items such as photo captions, synopses of high school sports games, a community calendar, and our “Senior Style” column (lunch menus and events at senior citizen centers).
The important thing is: You need to be willing to go well beyond proof reading to sharpening up copy to make it tight, crystal clear and readable.
- Exceptional writing ability.
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree in English, journalism, communication or related field.
- Working understanding of government and public policy since many items are about local government. For instance, you will be editing stories about the county, municipal and school-district budgets, about federal-local programs such as PILT (payment in lieu of taxes), Class B & C roads and court proceedings.
- Previous paid newspaper or technical writing experience
Work 15-25 hours per week. Edit up to half a dozen stories through the weekend on your own time. Need to be available Monday afternoons and evenings, and Tuesdays during the day, but copy flow is not continuous, so you can do other things at home between editing episodes.
- Work with interesting stories about everything from kidnapping to sheepherders to historic homes.
- Fun staff deeply committed to community service and high quality community journalism. No office politics here. One copy editor worked for us for eight years and another for four years.
- Owner/publisher has master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism. Paper has taken the Utah “General Excellence” award (first place) 10 out of the past 15 years.
- Pay is negotiable and competitive.
Email resume, including writing samples, to Suzanne@sapetemeesenger.com, and/or call Suzanne Dean, publisher, at (801) 541-3181. If you are interested but do not or cannot meet all of the requirements, please call the publisher to discuss. We’re flexible, and we need somebody.