Tim O’Rourke chosen DFM Copy Editor of the Year

Tim O'Rourke
Headline: Tim O'Rourke
Outlet: Bay Area News Group
Journalist: Tim O'Rourke
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DFMie judges chose Tim O’Rourke of the Bay Area News Group as Copy Editor of the Year.

The nomination by his editors explains O’Rourke’s important role:

A year ago, Tim O’Rourke considered leaving the “newspaper” business. Today, he is senior copy desk chief for digital and print content for the Bay Area News Group. As the lengthy title implies, Tim holds arguably the most complicated job in today’s newsroom.

He’s still a traditional copy desk chief, making the biggest catches each week, shepherding style guidelines, slotting the newspapers’ most important stories and writing headlines as strong or as witty as anyone.

But he is also one of the news group’s driving forces in the push to digital. Tim recognized the importance of clicks right away, and he championed the creation of “clickboxes,” files paired with our stories that we link to online and which have resulted in hundreds of thousands of hits we wouldn’t have otherwise garnered. He did his homework and has been a leader in teaching others about SEO. He has led training sessions on these and other topics.

Tim was the major conduit for a workflow change that allowed us to focus our priorities on digital platforms, despite creating much more work for himself.

In addition, Tim writes the work schedules for nearly 40 employees and acts as a liaison to other departments, serves on many committees, devises workflows and administers evaluations. Yes, he’s busy. But he’s a funny, humble, newsroom-type guy whose demanding standards make everyone around him a better journalist. We are excited to nominate Tim O’Rourke for DFM’s Copy Editor of the Year.

The judges explained their choice:

Tim O’Rourke wins the DFMie for Copy Editor of the Year for crafting clear prose, driving digital transformation and maintaining high standards across the Bay Area News Group’s multiple platforms. His headlines were not only crisp and clever, they were also appropriate and representative of the accompanying stories. On the humorous side, we got a kick out of ‘Ouchville’ and ‘Gaps     anger    drivers.’

Other finalists for Copy Editor of the Year were Philip Maramba of the Charleston Daily Mail and Jeanette Dunn of the Los Angeles News Group.

O’Rourke leads copy desk operations for the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and other Digital First Media newspapers and digital platforms in the Bay Area.

He came to the Times in 2007 and has worked in many positions and on even more publications. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College of California and graduated from the University of Oregon Graduate School of Journalism in 2006. When he’s not editing, organizing and helping manage the copy and design desks, O’Rourke writes restaurant reviews and other Food+Wine stories for the BANG features department.

He is getting married in August to his fiancee, Kate. Together, they try to keep in line a miniature dachshund, Dottie, and a pug named Fuji.


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