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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Producers

Thinking for the Web and Graphics

Writing and editing for web while also doing graphics for the newscast can be a bit of a challenge because they are very different but equally important jobs.

It always takes a minute to switch my mindset between the quick and simple cutline of a graphic and AP style writing for the web. 
What does remain the same though when working for the web and for the newscast is the importance of a well-written and well-edited story. Regardless of whether someone is seeing your work on a television screen or if they are reading it online, the style matters when conveying your message.

Now that I have done the web/graphics position three total times, there are certain lessons I’ve learned to ensure that the stories going out online and on-air are both of quality.
 

Know your newsroom
I have learned that at the beginning of the Thursday web/graphics shift, there are really great graphics people but we are lacking in web staff later in the day. Therefore, although my homework is technically due at four, it is better to knock out creating the graphics as soon as possible so that the people working graphics can create quality products. That way, once the graphics are done, I can focus my time on copy editing and creating quality stories for the web from about 2:30 pm onwards, when more people on the web team are coming in.

 When in doubt, look it up
When it comes to making graphics early, a lot of times the stories aren’t written yet. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to read up on what the news of today is so that the OTSs and Full Screens are most likely going to correlate with the written story. The same goes for the web. When writing a web story if you are unsure of something that happened, it is always best to do your research to make the story as complete as possible.

 Copy edit
One thing that is true for both web and graphics is that if the spelling is wrong, people will get distracted and not take the information as seriously. Therefore, I highly recommend reading a printed version of the graphics and web stories to really look for spelling errors that may be harder to catch when reading them on a computer with other tabs open. Especially with the web, if the web producer doesn’t catch an error it will reflect poorly on ATVN, and therefore it is especially important to be vigilant about spelling. 

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