I'm the copy editor on my college's newspaper, and every two weeks I get about ten emails each with four or five attachments of articles from the journalism classes. I have to edit all of them. (Well, that's not true. Some of them I just send back with a big NOPE.) This week, I kept a separate file open while I did it. I wrote out a series of tips, in hopes of passing it off to the teachers.
It's not okay to give to the teachers. So instead, I've published it here.
Tips for journalism students and other people submitting things to other people who are going to have to reformat those things so they aren't a pain in the ass [NSFW language]
An excerpt (below the fold because language):
9. Check to make sure the pronouns agree with each other. If you say "Everyone," you have to say "Them," not "Him or her."
10. When you're trying to avoid clichés, don't write the cliché but swap out one of the words for a word with a similar meaning. It doesn't make your language sound fresher -- you're just generally replacing a shitty sentence that makes sense with a shitty sentence that doesn't.
11. No, but seriously. The punctuation goes inside the quotation marks. There are few things more goddamn annoying than having to copy an editor on a new draft of something because everything was fine but you put all your fucking periods outside their quotation marks.
12. You're fucking allowed to use contractions.