Editing program preps students for summer internships

The students keep working throughout lunch break at J&H. For the first time, each student was given an iPad to use throughout the week.

After an intense week-long editing residency at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, some of the best journalism students in the country left Philadelphia May 30 to begin internships in some of America’s top newsrooms.

For 46 years, journalism Professor Ed Trayes has directed the Dow Jones Center for Editing Excellence at Temple University, which trains students on style guides, geography and other skills they’ll need to succeed at their copy-editing internships.

“We work each day in the classroom from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. with a short break for lunch. Then it is preparation well into the night for whatever we will be doing the following day,” Trayes said.

During one morning session, the students, hailing from schools such as Syracuse University and the University of California, Berkeley, showed the fruits of their evening research by presenting detailed analyses of the newspapers at which they are interning. They examined font choices, layouts, circulation figures, advertising rates and the content of each section in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Cape Cod Times and Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.), as well as the on-line presence of each publication. The exercise allowed the students to learn the ins-and-outs of how their publication is organized.

The five students heading to The New York Times thoroughly examined the paper’s readership, including income and education levels, and theorized on how newspapers not only sell advertising, but select news content, based on what they know about their subscribers.

Prof. Ed Trayes has directed or co-directed the program for 46 years.

Andrea Ordonez, who graduated this spring from Hofstra University, said the editing residency has instilled in her the need to memorize the AP Stylebook, and not just use it as a reference. But she’ll take away much more than grammar lessons.

“Aside from the technical things, like when to use an apostrophe and quotation marks, and stuff like that, I think I even am more aware of why certain things are the way that they are in terms of the editorial choices that certain publications make,” she said.

For example, Newsday, where she is interning, will focus a particular story on one source and balance it the next day with a different source on the same subject. “When you look at the Times or The Wall Street Journal, they’re balanced in the story itself.”

Throughout the life of the Dow Jones program, more than 600 students have experienced the Temple editing residency and the tutelage of Trayes.

“By the end of the first summer, and based on the generally excellent performance of this first group of editing interns, the experiment evolved into a very successful program aimed at encouraging bright young people at the starts of their respective journalism careers to consider editing instead of reporting,” Trayes said.

Click here to view photos and videos from throughout the program.