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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Editing the Copy - The "Glue" of Our Show

In the last hour before the show airs, I call the Assignment Desk Editors my sidekicks! I love including at least one of them in my final copy edit of the show's script. One of my goals as a producer is to make every single member of "Team Monday" feel like they are contributing something significant to the broadcast. Since the show's script significantly affects how the show flows, it makes me so happy to see Assignment Desk Editors light up when I ask them to sit beside me to read through the show out loud in order to catch mistakes.

I think of the copy, especially our introductions to stories and our tags, as the "glue" of our show. We need strong word choice to ensure that the messages of our stories do not get lost and to double check that our reporting is fair and accurate. I find this last minute edit session with my sidekicks incredibly effective. It is amazing how much stronger we are when we truly work together! We each catch something that the other missed, from missing out cues to misspellings. 

Even though I was the Graphics Producer this week, I appreciated the opportunity to help some reporters and multimedia journalists with their writing. One of my teammates was working on a story about a Rwandan citizen named Yannick Tona who is speaking out against individuals who have mistakenly "racialized" Ebola as an African disease. Initially, she accidentally wrote her copy without making sure that the words matched the graphic image that would be on the screen. Instead of fixing it on my own, I decided to make it an important learning experience for her. Together, we rewrote the story on iNews and I explained the importance of "writing to video." She said she really appreciated the feedback.

Each week we need to strive to make the copy the best it can be. It is crucial to remember, however, that taking a few minutes to personally correct mistakes, provide tips, and give constructive feedback to the original writer can go a long way. It will help us individually become better journalists. I believe the more time we take to sit down with reporters and multimedia journalists, the less editing we will need to make at the last minute before the show airs. Who knows? Maybe in a few weeks, my sidekick and I will read through a final copy that is nearly perfect! 

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