How to Edit a Magazine Article

Things You'll Need

  • Style guides
  • Dictionary
  • Research tools

Editing a magazine article means that you have to proofread, correct and rewrite it for publication. You must determine if the article is suitable for the magazine's target audience. It also helps to have good writing skills, good news judgment and basic knowledge of English rules and grammar in order to properly edit an article. Generally, magazine editors review an article by following the guidelines below.

Read the article. Re-read the article if time allows. See if the beginning shows rather than tells what is about to happen. Determine if the article narrates the scene, such as the location, action and tone of the subject. Follow your instincts to determine whether this article will be attractive to your readership and, in turn, help increase magazine sales.

Analyze the article to ensure that the structure flows well together, and that the article is written in active voice. Be sure that the overall content is newsworthy and stays on the subject. Determine whether the writer asked the right questions necessary to tell the story. Question any information about which you're unsure, and whether the writer interviewed the appropriate sources.

Edit the article for any grammatical, word choice or spelling errors. Use a style guide, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press Stylebook, and an in-house guide to verify proper word usage. Rewrite some parts of the article as needed so that the words and sentences make sense, but be careful not to take away the meaning of that passage. The goal is to make the article more interesting and easier to read.

Cut for length if necessary by eliminating any extra words or fillers that don't have any relevance to the article. Discuss the edits with the writer, explaining why you made the changes, and offer suggestions on how to improve his or her craft.

Do some fact-checking by researching the Internet or other publications. Verify that the sources in the article are real and not fictional. Also double-check that any statistics or facts mentioned in the article are accurate.

Pass the article to the copy editors if applicable. They are the "last line of defense" in checking for errors in grammar, spelling, statistical or factual errors. Prepare to answer any queries that they may have so that they can make the appropriate corrections to the article before sending it for publication.

Coordinate with the production or layout team. Plan what photos and captions you'd like to use with the article and determine where in the magazine you'd like for the article to appear.