Most citizen journalists don’t have the luxury of asking a skilled editor to proof their articles before they submit them.
In fact, citizen journalists often find themselves in the difficult situation of writing and then editing their own copy. This can be the most difficult editing that exists because it is very hard to catch your own errors. You know what you want the article to say, so you overlook misspelled or misused words, typos and incorrect grammar.
Believe me, I know. I’ve had my share of self-editing struggles.
So before submitting your articles, I highly recommend asking someone to review them for any possible errors. If you have a friend who can look over your work, by all means do it.
Another suggestion is to read your story at least three times. The first edit should focus on whether the story makes sense. During the second reading, pay special attention to spelling and grammar. On the third time through, you might want to see if there are any unanswered questions or negative words that could get you into trouble.
If time allows, give some distance between your readings, like an hour or two. That gives you a chance to walk away, think about something else and then come back more refreshed to look at your writing and catch possible errors.
These editing suggestions are the type of information included in the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” and the training offered by the National Association of Citizen Journalists. For more information or to order your e-copy of the handbook, visit http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/. To learn more about the training offered by the NACJ or to sign up for your free subscription to the Citizen Journalist Post, visit http://www.nacj.us/.