Scorecard Rating Checklist

For each article, copy editors must rate the article's quality on two levels: structure and content.

  • If you approve the article without requesting a rewrite, you must rate both fields simultaneously.
  • If you request a rewrite, you first must rate the article's structure. When the rewritten article comes back, if you approve the article, you will then rate the article for content. On the other hand, if you reject the rewritten article, you will not rate the content. Instead, provide the code that explains the rejection.

When scoring, think of 3 as average, 4 as above-average and 5 as excellent. Award 1 or 2 for an article that we would not publish in its present form. However, you might approve an article that scores 1 or 2 for Structure in a first draft, if the rewrite rises to publishable level.

Remember that coherent content that provides good information should not be rejected over the failure to comply with a few AP style points.  Please fix the errors and approve the article.


  1. Unclear phrasing, illogical flow, rampant typos, or poor organization that the CE cannot edit.
  2. Awkward phrasing in which some meaning is confusing; organization and flow must be substantially fixed by CE, with help from the writer required.
  3. Readability and organization require editing but do not significantly detract from the article's utility. Introduction or subheads need extensive work. May require follow-up query for clarification.
  4. Light editing with a few typos, minor grammatical tweaks. Well organized, but a query for grammatical clarification of an unclear passage may be required. Good introduction and subheadings.
  5. Clean. Little work required. The content engages. Strong introduction and subheadings.

If a Section Editor confirms that the writer has submitted plagiarized or repurposed content, the article should receive a "1" for Structure.  Immediately report content duplication or plagiarism to the segment editor before contacting the writer.


  1. Off topic or generic, contains poor references or gross factual errors, demonstrates no expertise. A useless article and a rejection.
  2. Content is too broad or generic, ignores audience or contains off-topic sections.
  3. On-topic, but some information is missing or superfluous; adequate references, minor factual errors.  The article contains significant segment or site guidelines violations the writer must correct.
  4. Good story, few holes, accurately researched, may require query for factual clarification. Section or site guidelines violations easily fixed by CE.
  5. Great read. Authoritative tone and references, primary facts all check. Follows all relevant guidelines.

Base content scores on the condition of the first draft or rewrite as it appeared prior to your last edit before approving.  Rejected articles do not receive Content scores.

When considering references and guideline compliance,  senior editors should grant new writers some leeway in scoring.  Remember, there is a learning curve.

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