NatChat: Proofing pro(ish) tips

Sorry for the hiatus! I’m back with several entries lined up, though, and hopefully some fancy visuals to boot. With that said, this week’s entry focuses on proofing. Proofing by no means should be considered the place to catch every error but I’ve caught some doozies while proofing (to include one person’s first name and another person’s last name getting squished together.)

Proofing is an extremely important part of the production process because it’s a complete look not at just one story’s package but at how the page(s) as a whole comes together. With that said, here are some tips I’ll pass along:

Proofing Pro(-ish) Tips

First, know how much time you have to dedicate to a proof before you begin. If there’s not a deadline on the page, you need to ask the designer when they will need the page back. No matter how little time you have, always check display type and jumps.

At a glance:

-Folio information (date, page number, property – make sure even page numbers are on the left, odd on right.

-Headlines, decks, kickers

-Cutlines and muglines

-Do stories end or is there runoff

-Jump tags

-Pullout/graphic/stock image type (GSSP and correct run date)


-Photo credit lines (there should always be one)


-In briefs, is the tagline there?

-Major design edits (spacing, unintentional packaging, do photos fill their frames, are story/ad placements questionable, etc.)

All of this can be done with a “scan” but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thorough with it.

More in-depth:

-Underline every first reference to a name you come across in a story and each time you see a second reference, check it against its first reference (this will help you ensure every second reference has a first and each second reference is correct – or at least consistent.)

-Check cutline information against the story – all proper nouns and auxiliary information should be supported by the text.

-Check pullquotes against the text.

-Find a way to slow your reading. I tap my pen at the beginning or end of each line of text so I don’t scan over it too quickly. I also sometimes underline long or hard-to-spell words so I don’t skip over a misspelled word.

-When in doubt, check the stylebook.

-Read every headline literally to prevent unintentional double entendres.

-Try to learn what different paragraph styles look like so you can spot improperly styled text.

-Even if you read a story before, read it again. It may have a different trim or you may catch something you missed in round one.

-Don’t just read for standalone facts, read for logic within a sentence and text as a whole.

-Highlight or otherwise make your edits more visible for designers.

-Sign your initials on every page so the designer can clarify marks with you if needed.



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