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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

The Early Word Gets Ahead of the Curve

Writing stories is one of the tasks in the newsroom that can easily fall through the cracks. When you are busy formatting the rundown, keeping track of reporters and MJs and filling out graphics requests, it can often seem like something that takes the backseat to more pressing problems. However, it is just as important to stay on top of writing and copy editing as any other responsibility.

I find copy editing to be one of the simpler tasks in the newsroom. It is easy to see another person's story, feel out the awkward spots, read them aloud, and fix them nicely. I need to get better at verifying facts and making sure I take the time to decide for myself if the story is as I remember it to be. 

Writing takes more work. When writing a short story, it can be tricky finding the best way to condense it into just a few lines. Nonetheless, we have written enough over the years to figure out how to put together four or five sentences.

Again, the most important thing to remember is to get some writing done early. Today, Kristen Rodgers joined our team, and I felt that she did a very good job at getting a jump on stories and pounding them out so that by the time 4 o'clock rolled around, most things had already been written and just needed to be edited. If we let stories sit while we wait for hours for the footage to come in, it is just another way that the whole system can end up becoming backlogged. At the end of the day, it is much nicer to only have to worry about videos and packages than everything at once when stories are not written early. 

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