Rules for 2016-17 scholarship applications

Please email the following items to Alex Cruden at

  • An original essay, written by you, on the aspects of copy editing most important in a multi-media world.  Do not exceed 500 words.
  • Your résumé.
  • The names and contact information for three references (supervisors and/or faculty members).
  • Either (not both) of the following:

(a)  Six headlines or tweets, or a mix thereof, that you have written. Include context, such as the first part of the material that you summarized with the headlines and/or tweets.

(b)  Your answer to the exercise posted below.

Email your complete application before Nov. 16, 2016.


Exercise ‘(b)’ for applicants

Please read the following article and then choose an appropriate summary of it from the three options below.

A recent Missouri School of Journalism master’s thesis sought to understand how the digital era has affected copy editors — the people who do the final editing for journalistic and other articles. The new and various responsibilities and expectations can often compete and operate in conflict with one another — leading to role conflict.

For many copy editors, the advent of the digital age has increased the number of tasks to be done within the same amount of time.  A consequence is an increase in the number of roles per person. Even if it’s not part of a specific job title, many copy editors are also social media editors, web managers and aggregators. As the number of roles a person handles increases, each becomes more and more of a sliver.

The study found that the number of tasks copy editors handle is highly correlated with the amount of conflict they feel. The more tasks, the more conflict they experience. However, the study went one step further and found that certain types of tasks are highly correlated with conflict. The more that social media and website management are part of a copy editor’s responsibilities, the more conflict they are likely to experience. This could be because social media and website management can’t simply be focused on for half an hour and then be considered done, particularly in journalism jobs.

The data yielded some additional tidbits. On average, copy editors considered more than half of their tasks a high priority, and almost 30% of respondents felt they frequently did not have enough time to complete traditional copy editing in a way that meets their personal standards.  It seems that they are conflicted between doing their jobs to the best of their ability and taking care of all the tasks required of them.

If you were placing this article on a general or mainstream news website, which of the three terse summaries below would you choose as the most appropriate for the article?  Specify your choice and write a few sentences explaining why you selected it.

1. Copy editors are torn between fragmented jobs and personal standards

2. Research looks at the effect of conflicting roles on copy editors

3. Multi-task pressures grow on last-line editors, study finds