Hello, my name is

Joshua Lynch

and this is what I do...

Copy Editing at The Seattle Times

Little did they know, but when readers of The Seattle Times wrote “dear editor” and ranted or raved about whatever was on their mind the summer of 2009, the person reading it on the other end was a 20-something intern.

I served as The Times’ letters copy editor from June to September 2009. My content strategy at The Times involved gathering diverse perspectives on timely coverage and publishing those letters in groups on an ongoing basis. With this strategy, I saw engagement go up on Northwest Voices, the Times’ online letter to the editor blog. I also made sure to let every reader know their letter had been published, thanked them for it and encouraged them to write again. This helped create even more engaged readers.

With my eye always toward software and process efficiency, I also made filters that helped pare down the roughly 500 emails the Times’ letters inbox received every day, taking into consideration and sorting out frequent letter writers, readers to be wary of, letters by major topic and more—all necessary to meet the daily deadlines.

My content strategy also involved careful copy editing of the letters. I never didn’t edit the content of a letter, even if it was just 20 words long. Many people exceeded the 200-word limit, and their arguments needed to be shortened. Others made claims that couldn’t be verified. A delicate balance was maintained between insuring the letters read well while still respecting the author’s intent and style.