Editors Tools: proofing checklist

We go along using the same old proofing checklist without any thought – and then one day something gets missed or you don’t catch an error that you should have seen, prior to publication.

The other day that very thing happened. It doesn’t take much sometimes for things to fall off the rails – staff on vacation, new content added to the books, old checklist used for proofing galleys…

We have our docket sheet that each department signs off on when they complete their work on the publication. A section for the editorial team who receives and formats the contents of each newsletter; a section for typesetting; and the press. And on this sheet the editorial department had a very small checklist where we would mark off the parts of the newsletter that were ‘standard’ in each and every book.  The cover, footers, date; it was a very small checklist.

Over time things change in our publications; we add permanent content where the headers remain the same but the content is updated each month. Combine that with more than one new piece of content (4 in July) , key staff on vacation, one person compiling the books and doing the proofing for same, and a rush to get the newsletters on the press, and what you get is a large margin for errors and omissions.

We know this is going to happen again, and so it was time to make a checklist that covered as much of our standard content as possible – this way even if only one person was doing the compiling and the proofing, it would be better than trying to rely on memory as to what to check in each publication.

It is not such a big deal when you only produce one publication a month, but at Great News Publishing we publish 60 community newsletters per month! That is a lot of content!!!

And so we went to work and designed a fool-proof checklist that even if only one person was doing all the compiling and proofing it would be easy to see at a glance any errors or omissions. This is now a comprehensive list from cover to back cover – and the exciting thing about is that the very first time I used it I was able to prevent an omission that would most certainly would have happened because it is just one of those small little details that is easily overlooked.








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