Editing

The tiniest spelling error or factual mistake can lead an audience to lose trust in a news organization. As editor-in-chief of The Forum, Westminster College’s student-run news organization, I was therefore meticulous about overseeing content and ensuring students’ stories met the needs and standards of the publication.

This is an example of a portion of a typical story submitted as a final draft before and after edits. To ensure quality, I always complete two edits — one focused on big-picture structure and another focused on details and accuracy. On the first round, I rewrote the lede as a more engaging anecdote, cut about 300 words and restructured sentences to increase clarity. On the second round, I found that the name of every source had been misspelled and fixed multiple other factual errors. The end result is both easy to read and factually accurate. 

What is being done about vehicle burglaries on campus?

In 2016 there were 36 reported cases of vehicle burglaries on campus. While not the most serious of crimes, vehicle break-ins are the second most common crimes at Westminster, with drug and liquor law violations being the first.

“You can get hit anywhere… there is no rhyme or reason,” said Tony Russel, director of security at Westminster College.

Vehicle burglaries have been a large issue on campus for a few years now. In 2015 there were 38 break-ins, in 2014 there were 22 and so far, this year there have been 29 vehicle burglaries according to Russel. However, there are many things that students and faculty can do to protect their valuables. Westminster’s campus security is also working on ways to abate the issue. However, vehicle burglary is a difficult crime to prevent, and that’s because it’s quick.

“It’s tough because they can be in and out in just five-minutes,” Russel said.

There doesn’t seem to be a particular time of day that vehicle burglaries happen either.

“They happen in the daytime too because they can break a window and be in and out of the car in no time,” Russel said.

Russel has been working on increasing surveillance in the Westminster parking lots. Putting in new security cameras as well as hiring off-duty police officers, in addition to the seven campus security officers, to patrol the parking lots at night. Westminster recently installed four new security cameras on the upper levels of the Draw parking structure above the security gate.


“In October we haven’t had one car problem,” Russel said. However, he also said that it’s still to soon to say whether or not that because of the new security measures.

There are also several things that students and faculty can do to prevent being a victim as
well. Russel said that parking in well lit areas and not leaving anything in your car are good ways to prevent break ins, however, they don’t ensure anything.

“That helps minimalize it, but we’ve had a lot of cars where the windows were broken and nothing’s taken out of it,” Russel said.

According to the 2016 Daily Crime Log, there were 19 cases of vehicle burglary in the Draw parking structure alone. 16 of those cases were bellow the security gate, which is not managed by Westminster. Therefore, it is not patrolled by campus security. Considering that there were only three reported vehicle burglaries above the security gate, it is much safer to park there than in the public parking.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that a vehicle won’t be broken into. Grant Philips, (blank) year (blank)major, was one of those three victims. His car was broken into last May above the gate in the Draw parking structure.

“I thought I took every precaution I could,” Philips said.