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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Copy carries a show


Copy editing is something that is relatively easy, but makes a huge impact on the show.  A good script leads to a good anchor read, which is what the viewers are listening to during your broadcast.  It is important to copy edit EVERY script because any level of journalism student can be writing it.  Seasoned reporters may not need as thorough of a read-through, but MJs and other volunteers may be in lower-level core classes that are just teaching proper broadcast writing skills.  Team Thursday is really good at delegating the copy editing throughout the day.  Whenever there is a slow-down in work for the graphics or video teammate, they go through every story and check it over.  Alexis, our EP, does this as well.  Reading stories out loud is essential when copy editing broadcast scripts.  Some sentances look great on paper, but read wordy or have a weird rhythm out loud.  It's better to catch these mistakes in the news room instead of during run-throughs when there are other things to stress about.  I also think it's important to explain the edits you make to copy to the journalist who wrote it.  I made a point to talk with every MJ or volunteer that asks me to look at their script and show them which words work and which don't.  It's better that they know why their copy was changed instead of assuming it was right in the first place.  Strong copy can carry a show even without video or graphics.  It's important to make sure it is the best it can be for a great show.  

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