Although it might not seem like it, being an editor is one of the hardest jobs that go into publishing a newspaper. You have to plan your editorial calendar, look out for everything happening around you, deal with all the details, continuously answer emails, conduct interviews and, above all, review the future articles of the newspaper - a job which is neverending. Of course, if you are an editor then I don’t have to tell you all of this; for those of you who are new to the notion, this article will give you a pretty good idea of an editor’s day-to-day routine.
But let’s move away from the general gist of an editorial life and go straight into the nitty gritties - the gravest blunder an editor could make, the largest of editorial sins, is an editorial mistake. A quick online search will immediately draw up plenty of lists filled to the brim mistakes in well-known newspapers and magazines that will never, ever be forgotten (least of all by the finder, writer and editor). Although these mistakes probably made for a good laugh, in reality they might have meant loss of trust or a reduced reputation (because, let’s face it - nobody would trust a typo-ridden article) and, therefore, a decrease in visitors and their loyalty. This is why the editorial and proofreading steps are crucial - that is where the last checks are made and the definitive article is produced. Editing and proofreading require a lot of concentration, time and dedication.
What Editing Tools Are, and Why You Need to Use Them, If You Are an Editor
Every editor has a set of preferred writing and editing tools, on the cloud or otherwise. But it is advisable to have a look around the market from time to time and weigh your options. Could a newer product help improve your work or, even better, save you precious time that you could instead spend otherwise, say, with family or friends? Keeping publishers and editors close to our heart, we took on the task of writing a comprehensive (although by no means absolute) list of the best writing and editing software tools around. Don’t get me wrong - these tools are not going to do the work for you, but they will definitely simplify your editing journey.
What Tools Exist, and How They Work
As you should very well know, editing implies the supervision of each and every article that will end up in the final newspaper publication - that’s a whole lot of work. However, thanks to technology, doing this has become the easiest of tasks. The editing software will be kicking off the review process. It will start by doing a primary evaluation of grammar, writing, style, and hidden errors in the form of repeated words or even sentences that don’t make much sense.
Having said that, your software can never replace a human. Writing a great article for a newspaper is a deeply complex piece of work. Don’t forget to review your work in the correct steps. You will find some great examples here.
In this post, we are going to go through a short list of different editing tools. All of them are based on writing algorithms, and all are intended to help the writer find mistakes that, once improved, will make for higher-quality texts.
Grammarly is an editing software available as a chrome browser extension, a Microsoft Office add-in, a desktop app, or a web page to visit in your browser. It is available either as a free or premium version. Both of these examine grammar, context and spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation. It also includes a sentence structure, style, and genre-specific writing checker. Note that this tool is only available for you if you are writing in British or American English.
One of the great things about Grammarly is that it provides a detailed explanation of why it has identified a mistake in the article, not simply notifying you of your mistake.
The main difference between the free and paid software versions is that the latter has been built specifically for writers who are professionals. It includes a lot of detailed information about language, so that the review is more effective.
On the other hand, the downfall of the free version is that, for some mistakes, it might inform you that you have an error but only whilst specifying that the explanation for it is not included in the free Grammarly program - meaning to say that, if you want to know more, you need to pay. The same thing happens if you attempt a plagiarism check whilst using the free version.
Hemingway is only available as a paid version, but if you visit the company website you can see how it works through an interactive setup.
This writing and editing tool spots complex words or phrases, long, hard-to-read sentences, adverbs, and passive voices in your article. It shows you everything it notes with a nice and attractive colour-coded system. It can also tell you the number of paragraphs, sentences, words, and characters in your text. The readability and approximate reading time of your article will be evaluated, too.
This professional writing tool can be set to American, British, Australian, and Canadian English. It can also be used for articles written in tools other than Microsoft Word - if you need a HTML text editor, Hemingway will help you with headings, formatting and links. Unlike Grammarly, you cannot check for plagiarism - you’ll still need a separate tool for that.
Pro Writingaid editing tool has both free and paid alternatives. If you chose to review your newspaper articles with the free version, you only need to register your name - however, you will probably find it to be a very limited tool for that kind of professional work. It might suit you better to go for Premium or Premium+ - as you can imagine, these are paid versions. The differentiating factor between the two is that the latter includes a plagiarism check.
The premium software can be used online, in Google Docs or even in Microsoft Word, while the free version only works online. All of them identify overused words, style, sentence length, grammar, clichés, and repeated words, among other things. The information, suggestions, and corrections that this tool reports back to you are often numerous and may prove to be a bit overwhelming (particularly if you’re not a native speaker) but it really is a professional and great platform. You can use it in both British and American English.
SmartEdit is a software you can download and use in Microsoft Word, but you can only opt for a free ten-day trial if all you want to do is check it out - no obligations there.
This editing tool, targeted at professional writers, gives advice related to misspelled words, repeated phrases, clichés, redundancies, acronyms, and more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t detect plagiarism. It doesn’t make any suggestions for replacing mistakes, because the creators behind it believe that a machine can never replace human reasoning. The principal language which this tool works with is English, but it also offers a handy list of most used foreign phrases.
Slick write is an online (and free) writing and editing tool. This software critiques your work in terms of structure, word repetition, flow, style and grammar. It will also give you suggestions to fix your errors. The tool will motivate you to learn from your errors and improve your writing quality. Plagiarism is not detected by this tool either, so you’ll have to find other means to ensure that the article you’re reviewing is original.
This software also houses a word association game to help you find new expressions for your text. Everything that this editing tool does is based in English-written algorithms that search for the information in published material acquired from external resources in the website.
YAY for No More Manual Editing!
Wonderful as that would be, it is not quite true (or even possible).
As a professional editor and writer, you must never forget that what you know and can do could never be replaced by a robot. All of these tools will help you improve your editing process, day by day, by learning from your mistakes, and consequently identifying those of your peers far quicker. As you might have noticed, they are not just useful for editors but are also great for the writers themselves. If the work has already been checked and verified before it comes to you as the editor, it would most certainly save you valuable time, as you’d only be doing the post-software editing checks.
Good teamwork, skills, and the right dose of tools are key to making your life as a publisher, editor and/or writer far simpler. There’s nothing to lose in trying these out - in contrast, not doing so might mean your editorial process is stuck in a rut, and will never get any quicker.
Are you an editor or writer? Have you ever tried using any of these tools, or have other suggestions of your own? We’d love for you to get in touch and help us make this a more comprehensive guide.