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Answer to a reader's question....
August 5, 2008 - Pat Beck
Question was: My next question is with regard to editing. As each journalist writes his or her article, what is the editing process from there? I have often criticized this paper's editing as I have written many academic papers and have had to edit myself. It has been my understanding that there are editors at a newspaper who may catch mistakes that the writers miss themselves. Is this true?
Readers may think that there should be a simple answer to this, but the job of the editor becomes more complex with every change that happens in the newspaper industry. Every reporter’s story is edited. The editor reads through the story and determines who, what, where and when. In other words, does the story make sense, are the important facts of the story at the beginning, is it fair and balanced (no, this is not an original idea of Fox News), where are the gaps, what questions haven’t been answered, and has the reporter followed the Associated Press Stylebook. Editors will than read it again for grammar and spelling. Reporters are questioned if an editor isn’t satisfied. A reporter is directed to make an additional contact, if the editor feels that the story is not complete. The editor writes the headline of the story. It is also the responsibility of the editor if a story needs to be cut down due to space constraints. Our editors are also responsible for "layout" or “paginating”-- that is, to design pages. This may also involve deciding which stories, photos and graphics will run and which of those will be featured most prominently. I probably should have had an editor answer this question but this does give a quick glimpse of what the procedure is.
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