John McIntyre has worked as a copy editor for more than thirty years. In this interview on Copyediting.com, he talks about how he got his gig and what advice he’d share for other editors who would like to edit copy at newspapers:
“Consider a vocation in a religious order,” he said. “Then at least someone might feed you.”
After the jump, a few more choice excerpts from the interview:
How did you get into editing, John?
I abandoned pursuit of a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature and needed a job. Happily, the job I found turned out to be a vocation as well.
How is newspaper copyediting different from your past pursuits?
What I like most is that it’s still collegial, though with a dwindling number of actual people, working, talking, joking at the office instead of sitting in isolation in a room with a text—the thing I hated most about graduate school.
What are some non-copyediting activities that you find helpful to your work?
Reading. Widely and omnivorously. Biography, history, fiction, theology, murder mysteries. You cannot know too much. And, of course, swearing.