Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Weekly editing post

Today's exercise in editing was actually somewhat enlightening. In journalism school we are always talking about how important it is for us as reporters to be as accurate as possible. But today was the first time that I have ever considered things from the editor's perspective.

Basically, we took an already written story and had to edit its content and provide it with a headline. The quality of this article was particularly low. There were so many errors that portions of the article had to be re-written entirely. I know that this was only an exercise, but I still found myself thinking of how I would feel if I were the reporter. I thought of opening the paper the next day and flipping to my story, only to find that it looked nothing like what I had turned in the previous day. I would have ordinarily felt pretty angry, except in this instance you'd probably have to concede that it was your fault for doing such a poor job on the original piece.

This type of exercise should improve me as a journalist. I don't want an editor to have to change my story to anywhere near the degree that I just did this morning. This makes me realize how important it is for us to write well and write accurately with our stories. I would be ashamed to turn in something that required the level of editing that I had to do on the practice story this morning. Even more important, I would be angry with myself for allowing my story to be changed to the point of it being unrecognizable to me.

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