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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Producers

Good Writing is The Key to Success

   Having good writing and copy editing skills are things that are necessary when working on both the website and the newscast. At times I feel I underestimate just how important copy editing is. It never occurred to me that as a producer so much of my time would be spent reading over copy and making sure stories are written well with no errors. It may seem tedious but the benefits that come from writing well and copy editing makes it all worth it.

    A newscast is at its best when the writing is both compelling yet easily understood. It’s very easy to fall into a trap where you pack so much information into one sentence that it becomes hard for the audience to take in what you’re saying. You have to make sure that stories are being written in a way that is very audience-friendly. You don’t want the information to overwhelm the viewer. 

   You have to pay special attention when writing for the web also. Whenever I visit a news site and see a misspelling or something grammatically incorrect I feel it looks unprofessional and takes away from the seriousness of the story. It’s for this reason that you have to extensively copy edit all the stories that are being posted on the web. 

    I've found that the best way for me to improve on my writing and my copy editing is to watch other newscasts and to look at how other news sites write their articles. This provides me with a framework of what is good writing and what isn’t. I think another important thing to do is to always have something you can use to reference when you’re unsure of something. Whether it is the AP stylebook or a dictionary it’s always good to have something you can use to double-check with. Having well written stories can take a lot of effort but it definitely pays off in the end. 

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