Dreaming of a career in editing or publishing?

Don't know where to start?

This course will provide you with practical experience producing an online publication under the guidance of experienced tutors. 

Gain the "know-how" you need to get started. 

Through this experience you will:
- develop your ability to edit both text and illustrations for articles
- learn how to prepare layout for articles
- learn to edit according to specification
- gain experience that you can use to build your C.V. to demonstrate experience in publishing 
- create a body of work to shows your experience in copy editing for online publications


This is a unique, hands on course that develops your practical skills to edit professionally



Under the guidance of a mentor (a writing/editing tutor), you will learn to edit according to specific criteria, deal with a publisher, and communicate effectively with others involved in the publishing process.

This module gives you hands-on experience in copy editing an online publication. You will work with a tutor (member of our academic staff) who will oversee your role as copy editor for an online publication.

Why is this such a valuable experience?

It is difficult to get a start in the publishing industry. Publishers are usually swamped by people seeking employment, and applicants may not even be considered unless they have already worked in the publishing field. This means that many qualified graduates never even get the opportunity to show what they can do!

This module gives our students just what they need – experience of copy editing. The module gives you that opportunity to work on a real-life publication. With something to show publishers, you have a much better chance of gaining employment in this field. On graduation, you will have a body of work that shows your experience in copy editing for online publications.

Gain hands-on experience as an editor in a student publishing team! In this module, you will develop essential practical knowledge and skills that you will need in your career as editor or publisher. Under the guidance of a mentor (a member of our academic staff), you will plan, design, write, and publish a magazine, journal, or other publication. Think how that will look on your resumé!


· Publishing I and Editing I, or equivalent

· Medium level computer skills



This course takes you through the processes of editing for a specific publication, submitting work for publication, and meeting the requirements of an editor and publisher.

1. Working to Specifications

2. Editing Articles for Online Publications

3. Submitting Articles for Online Publications

4. Preparing and submitting Layout for publication

Duration - 100 hours




Many publishers clear set down copy editing specs (specifications) to let editors know exactly how they want work presented to them. If you engage in freelance editing, and find yourself submitting work to different publishers, you may need to work with a different set of specifications for each publisher. Do your research! Many publishers now set out their editing specifications on their website. Some will send them out on request. If requirements are not provided, then you can always get an insight into a publisher’s specifications by studying works that they have already published.


As discussed in the previous lesson, working with graphics is a highly skilled field, best left to trained professionals. However, most editors are involved at some level with design and page layout and require a good working knowledge of the processes and terminology to effectively oversee the production stages.

The most important consideration in choosing a design and layout for a publication is probably financial. The amount of money available to produce a publication will determine the number of pages, the size and type of paper used, the number of photographs and other graphics, and how much colour is used in the document.

The page design must reflect the publication’s style and format, as well as presenting the contents in a way that is both readable and attractive. The publication’s readership also needs to be considered when determining the type of format to be used; a different style would be used for a lifestyle magazine as compared to a business review for example.

The overall design of the publication needs to be determined i.e. Will the articles be short with a lot of large graphics or photographs? Or will it have lots of large informative articles? What type size and type face will be used?

Layout and design should be simple as well as reflect and enhance the content of the text. The page should be easy to read and look at – the reader should be unaware of the design element of the layout; cluttered designs tend to draw the reader’s attention to the layout rather than the content. The length of each line of type should not be too long as this makes it difficult to draw a reader’s eye back to the next line.

To design a layout for a publication the material to be included must firstly be gathered – this will include the copy (text, articles or advertisements), photographs and other graphics. To produce a professional looking publication the copy must be ready to print; edited for grammar and spelling mistakes and the photographs and graphics need to be checked for quality. Ensure also that you have calculated the amount of pages for the publication in twos or fours.

The design should be simple with a minimum amount of fonts, type styles and effects, although different weights and size of type can add to the design’s success. The length of the copy and size of graphics should be calculated in order to determine how much space they will need on the page. When arranging the material on the page determine whether graphics or advertising clashes with the other content chosen for that or the facing page.

Locate photographs and other graphics to achieve the best possible visual effect. They may be used as focal points or to break up large tracts of text. When deciding on the layout, ensure the graphics best reflect and suit the purpose of enhancing the text that they support. They may need to be cropped and scaled to fit in to the overall design and placed on the page in such as way as to not confuse the reader. The reader should not have to make a decision as to what is meant to be read next. Photographs that are placed in the middle of text often causes this type of confusion; the reader does not know whether to read the paragraph below the photo or begin on the next row of type above the photograph.

Headings should be of a size in proportion the article they head. For example a large article placed on several pages may be supported by a headline that takes up to one-third of the page. Smaller articles will have proportionally smaller headings.

Regular features are either on set pages for each periodical publication; grouped together at the front; or arranged at the end of articles that have a shortfall on the page to act as fillers.

When using colour it is necessary to ensure that the colours are complementary and do not clash on the page. Ensure also that the colour used in the background does not lose the legibility of the type, making it difficult to read, background colours that have strong tints tend to do this.

Some people with visual impairments and disabilities find certain colour schemes harder to read than others.  It is worth doing some research into this so that you are not alienating a large percentage of your readership who (for example) might be colour blind or have other visual impairments.


Page layout is the process of positioning of content on the pages of the document and preparing the final product for print. Content such as text and decisions on font size and style can be chosen or modified at this point.

How it used to be done

There are two ways to lay out a publication. One way is to make what has traditionally been called a Paste-up. The second way is to lay out your design on a computer using what is referred to as Desktop publishing software. With the advent of computer technology a hand-done paste-up is rare these days. However it is interesting to note the procedures used:

Traditionally a paste-up (or keyline) was made on a piece on heavy white paper or illustration board. All the text and graphics of a design were pasted on the board using rubber cement or adhesive wax, according to a rough design. The paste-up was made as neatly and as cleanly as possible; any mistake on the paste-up has the potential to show up on all the final copies as well. The size of the paste-up usually corresponded to the size of the final publication and to make a paste-up neat and straight; drawing boards, T-squares, and other traditional layout tools were used.

The text for the paste-up would have been typed on a typewriter or word processor and printed out in black on white paper. Text was sometimes also cut out from other printed pieces, traced, or even written by hand. Graphics were drawn by hand in ink or with special marking pens, or they were also cut from other printing.

Once the paste-up was complete, the next step was to make what is called a high contrast negative. This negative was used to make a plate for lithography or flexography, ready for the off-set printer.

How it is done now

Most page layouts today are designed with the help of computer software and is done electronically on computer with programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Quark Express. The type is done with the word processor and the graphics created with these sophisticated graphics programs. Graphics can also be electronically photographed and downloaded into the computer or scanned into the computer using a scanner.

Once all the material has been gathered and stored in a computer file, it can then be assembled using software applications into a digital paste-up (similar to the old manual paste-up). The digital paste-up can now be out-put through an out-put device; printer, image setter that makes a high contrast piece of film like a process camera does. It could also be a plate setter that makes a plate that can be put on the press. Some computers are connected directly to digital duplicators, electronic presses, high speed laser printers, or other production output devices which can print out large amounts of paper very quickly.