Welcome to Presto Media! As an editor, you are at the front line of Presto’s content and quality assurance. The writer is doing the research, picking the photos, and putting together the article, but it’s your job to make sure the writers are doing theirs.
Before you jump into this new role, this guide will explain how to use the Presto Media platform as an editor, as well as offer a few tips for how to edit articles as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Home Screen
Once you log in with the credentials provided by Presto’s management team, you’ll be brought to your home screen.
On the left-hand side, you’ll see: My Work Desk and Assignments. When you log in, My Work Desk is shown automatically. Let’s define each section individually.
My Work Desk
This section shows you the active assignments that you are currently working on. Each entry shows what kind of assignment it is, how long it should be, and the suggested title/topic.
The “status” field on the far left shows you where the article is in development. From an Editor’s work desk, the statuses you’ll see are “Editing” or “Revisions Requested By Editor.”
Unlike writers, you are also able to see the publisher/client name.
- Editing -- this means one of three things:
- The assignment has been removed from the assignments pool and only you and the admins can see it.
- You requested revisions on this article and the writer addressed them and re-submitted the assignment.
- A publisher requested revisions on this article and the writer addressed them and re-submitted the assignment.
- Revisions Requested By Editor -- this means that you claimed the article for editing but decided to request revisions from the writer.
This section is where you can claim submitted assignments to edit. Every active Presto editor has access to this screen, and any unclaimed article submitted by a writer shows up here.
Here, you will see the article type (e.g., List, General News), length of the assignment, the publisher, the title (topic), and the publisher’s comments (details). If an article looks good to you, you can claim it by clicking the blue + button.
NOTE: Do not claim Advertorial or Press Release article types. These are significantly higher touch, and will be addressed by the Content Manager and/or CCO. You will primarily claim List and General News assignments.
When you click the button, this screen will appear:
This is your “are you sure” page. Click “Claim article for editing” to add it to your Work Desk, or “X” if you changed your mind. If you claim the article, you can click on “My Work Desk” in order to find and begin editing the article.
While Presto writers may claim 1-3 articles at a time, there is no cap on how many articles an editor can claim at a time, and there is no auto-unassign. Understand that we expect edits to be addressed immediately, and at most same-day, so don’t claim more than you will able to manage in 12 hours.
If you click “Claim article for editing,” the platform will take you directly to the assignment page. To claim more articles, simply click “Assignments” in the left-hand bar again. The article you just claimed will be saved to your work desk.
Editing an assignment
Each assignment will have different requirements and a different format. The good news is that the Presto platform was designed to take care of format for writers and editors. Primarily, the editor is responsible for four things:
- Making sure the Style Guide and Content Requirements were followed
- Making sure the content reads well
- Making sure the photos don’t suck
- Making sure the title is eye-catching and interesting
When you click on an Active assignment, you will be brought to this screen. The first things you should note are the Title, Client Notes, Content Requirements and Client Style Guide.
We have also highlighted Assignment Notes, editor actions and Internal Information.
- Title: A suggestion for the topic - it is a writer’s responsibility to propose a new title, but the editor is responsible for re-writing it if necessary to make it more interesting.
- Client Notes: These will contain specific directions from the client. It will also sometimes contain links to sources for the assignment.
- Content Requirements: This governs tone, words to avoid, and whether to attribute images
- Style Guide: This opens to a separate page that goes into more detail about content expectations.
- Assignment Notes: This is a place for the writer to communicate specific challenges with the assignment, or anything they’d want the editor to know before editing.
- Editor actions: Save your work as you go, approve, or request revisions from the writer.
- Internal Information: Who the Presto writer is, who is editing, who the publisher is, and what the outlet name is.
A list assignment will look slightly different than a general news assignment.
The platform breaks up the copy into separate fields for each list item and numbers them in ascending order. There is a fixed word count for each item, and a button to “Choose Image” for each. Clicking on the thumbnail of the image will allow you to see the image in its actual size so that you can determine its quality, and that it is watermark free.
Some assignments will require a separate featured image, which you see on the right hand of the screencap. Clicking this image will show you the full-sized image, but also allows you to edit or remove it if you have to upload a different photo.
The featured image should be interesting and unique, and in effect summarize the story in an image, look good as a thumbnail, and be as enticing to click as possible.
Each client will have their own featured image requirements listed in their Style Guide.
There are three actions an editor can select with each assignment: Save, Approve, and Request Revisions.
The platform automatically saves your progress every minute or so, but if you need to exit the assignment and want your work saved, you can use the Save button to do so.
The Approve button brings up a window where you will be asked to assign a star rating to the assignment (we’ll discuss how to evaluate according to star ratings later in the guide):
Once you have selected the appropriate star rating, you will be brought to a new window that asks you to write custom feedback for the writer.
The platform requires that you write something before you can give the article final approval. We recommend giving a quick compliment for something that worked, and a small piece of advice for future improvement, if applicable.
If a writer submitted with an assignment note for the editor, you can use this field to respond.
The Request Revisions button brings up this window:
You will need to specify why you are asking for revisions on the article. Ideally, they will be quick fixes the writer can address easily, usually style guide or image issues. If the article requires significant copy revision, you may want to contact the CCO for review before performing any specific actions.
The Client Style Guide should be the first thing you check when you open a new assignment. As the editor, it is your responsibility to make sure the client’s directions were followed.
We format style guides with clients ahead of time in order to ensure the same areas of concern are highlighted efficiently. Things like how to render numbers in listicle headings, whether to apply title case to titles, and whether or not fair use images are expected.
As the editor, this is your cheat sheet, and one of your primary responsibilities is ensuring that the copy matches the style guide.
DO NOT approve an assignment without either fixing style guide errors yourself or requesting that a writer address them.
How to evaluate each assignment
The Editorial Rubric is shared with all new Presto writers so they understand our expectations before they start claiming assignments. For editors, this is a general guideline for how to evaluate each assignment.
No two editors will define “minimal errors” the exact same way, and because article quality can be subjective, individual editors may choose to overlook certain errors if the overall article is of good quality, and assign a star rating accordingly.
This is completely up to your discretion -- merely use the Rubric as a general guideline.
Note about Revision Requests
You will occasionally need to request revisions from a writer if your time spent addressing errors in the article outpaces your capacity to do so in a timely fashion.
Our hope is that revision requests are rare, so if you find that must request them frequently, then individualized performance improvement for the writers is likely required. Let the CCO know if you think that's needed!
If you must request revisions, explain to the writer in the revision request section the rating you would assign the article in its current condition. So, if you’re sending an article back for revisions that you would consider a 2-star article overall, verbalize that to the writer so they know where they stand.
If the revisions requested are completed satisfactorily, add one star to the initial rating for the final score. So that same 2-star example would become a 3-star article as its final rating. If the article requires more revisions, ask the CCO what you should do next.
The only exception is if you need to request revisions on an article you would otherwise consider to be of 4-star quality. If revisions are completed satisfactorily, the article must remain a 4-star article. Any article that requires revisions from the writer cannot become a 5-star article.
How to edit articles efficiently
It is our goal to work with and develop our writers individually so that they require minimal editorial oversight. Ideally, all writers are 4-5 star quality consistently, and their assignments require only a few minor fixes.
It is primarily the CCO’s job to work with writers to help them improve their overall quality. As the editor, your job is simply to edit an article and either approve it or request revisions. You may offer a quick tip in revision requests, but major issues that are repetitive should be elevated to the CCO.
An editor shouldn’t spend more than a few minutes on each article.
Still, some articles require more work than others. While scanning the copy and the images and fixing minor errors should only take a minute or two, poor syntax, awkward phrasing, photos that need to be replaced, or even blocks that need to be rewritten entirely can take an editing assignment from one minute to 20.
There’s a balance here -- we don’t want to send back articles for revisions for every minor error, because writers aren’t paid for revisions. Yet the ball is not entirely in their court to turn in a perfect article; as editors, we have to jump in and make some fixes. Still, we don’t want to do a writer’s job if something truly needs extensive revisions.
Where do you draw the line?
What an Editor should fix:
- Grammar & Mechanics - Missed commas here and there, fragments, comma splices, and more. PRO TIP: Make sure you know hyphens and commas, because comma and hyphen errors are 90% of what you’ll need to fix.
- Spelling - Names or words spelled wrong, malapropisms, things that seem like innocent fast typing mistakes.
- Titles - Every writer is asked to propose a new title, but generally speaking, the editor should create an appropriate, creative and clickable title before sending an assignment to the client.
- Minor style guide errors - Rendering numbers incorrectly, not italicizing movies, little stuff.
When to send back for revisions:
- Focus - If the intro or certain sections take a weak creative direction, miss the point entirely, don’t get the reader engaged, or just a general lack of quality that would require you to rewrite it, send it back.
- Awkwardness - One or two poorly constructed sentences you can fix yourself. If an entire entry or more needs to be revised for clarity, to create shorter sentences, get to the point sooner, cut out the fluff, etc., send it back.
- Anything images - If there is a watermark in a photo, send it back. If the photos look like they’re probably not safe to use, send it back. If the photos are poor quality or don’t match the aspect ratio desired by the client, send it back. You can swap out one or two images yourself if you want to, but we want our writers to get into good image habits, so don’t feel off about asking them to revise.
When to elevate to CCO:
- Really bad writing - If you run into a wall where the copy is so bad you don’t want to fix it and don’t know where to start in asking for revisions, tell the CCO and he’ll take over.
- Really bad images - Similarly, if most/all images violate our standards, elevate to the CCO.
- Blew off style guide - The article might be well-written, but it completely ignored the style guide. If that is the case, elevate to the CCO.
- Suspected plagiarism - If for any reason you suspect plagiarism, elevate to the CCO immediately.
We encourage all writers to download the grammarly browser app, and editors should do the same. This plugin acts like a “spell checker,” and does catch most errors, cutting down on editing time dramatically.
To activate grammarly, you have to click into each text field (titles and copy) in order for the plugin to scan the copy for errors. You can see the grammarly icon in the lower right in the image below:
If one or more errors are detected, grammarly will underline them.
Bear in mind that grammarly makes some style recommendations that are not necessarily errors. Mostly, you’ll see grammarly recommend using more commas or getting confused by slang. In those instances, use your best judgment about what will work for the piece.
If anything is very poorly phrased, grammarly may or may not catch it -- you should still scan each entry. Grammarly also doesn’t seem to catch malapropisms. For example:
- “The hours fell off the clock.”
- “The ours fell off the clock.”
Since “hours” and “ours” are both real words, grammarly may not pick up that “ours” is used in the wrong context. Scan for those instances as well.