Self-editing guidelines

Once you have written a draft, you should walk through the following “checklist” to make sure your story meets all the guidelines BEFORE submitting to me.

A useful rubric for stories can also be accessed here.


  • Does the story follow a logical structure? Is the writing clear and concise?
  • Are there transitions (words or phrases) that lead the reader through the story? (i.e., it’s not just quotes strung together)
  • Is the story written in short paragraphs (1-3 sentences) – and does each new idea have its own paragraph?


  • Is the headline catchy and clever? Does it entice the reader to want to continue reading the body of the article? Would it work on it’s own, out of context, and as a shared link?
  • Does the lead draw the reader in/offer a sense of what the story is about, and what question will be answered?


  • Is the story fair and balanced?
  • Are all claims fact-based, backed up by research and/or quotes?
  • Are there any questions left unanswered?


  • Does the story have at least three sources? Are all of them relevant to the story subject? Does at least one of them qualify as an official source? Do they represent a diverse range of viewpoints?
  • Is the appropriate research evident here, or is something missing? Is hard data (facts and figures) used to back the story up?
  • Are quotes used appropriately? Are they too long? Unclear?
  • Are attributions made correctly?


  • Does the writer employ the best word choice? No clichés?
  • Are there run-on sentences, fragments, or unmarked commas?
  • Are the words spelled correctly, with proper use of capitalization?
  • Have you checked for redundancies, and made appropriate substitutions if you’ve used the same word or phrase over and over again?



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