Q: What does it take to get to be a copy editor at a major metro?
A: To be a copy editor at any newspaper you should first of all have good news judgment, know how to write, be detail-oriented, juggle, shift gears quickly, lead by example and negotiate with finesse. In addition, it helps to be able to write headlines and design pages as well as you edit.
To take those skills to a major metro, you've got to be swimming near the top of the talent pool. No newspaper should confine its choices to people who meet minimum standards; they should hire only the best people they can. Major metros are lucky in that they can look more thoroughly than smaller newspapers.
So, you've got to be at the top of the craft, and then you need to get the attention of those big-paper editors. You can do that by applying, by seeking career advice from them or by meeting them at events such as the conferences put on by the American Copy Editors Society.