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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Check and Double Check

As lead producer, I am the one who knows the specific details of all elements within the newscast. Because news is always changing and coming into the studio, it is my job to keep all other staff members at ATVN on top of the stories and aware of any changes. The writing process begins with a certain knowledge of the story that needs to be written.

When assigning an MJ to write a story, I make sure to not only explain the background, but to make sure they are aware of the most recent news in the story they will be covering. I then print out the wire and have the MJ read it before reporting back to me about what they believe the story is about. If the MJ can successfully explain to me what the story is about, they are ready to write about it.

Once the MJ has written the story, I ask them to find me and have me copy edit it before they can move on to another assignment. By doing this, I am able to find any grammatical or factual errors and discuss the writing with the MJ who produced the material. I try to sit down with them and go over the areas I think may need to be rewritten, being sure to explain to them why so that mistakes like this can be avoided in the future and their writing skills will continue to develop as journalists.

As aforementioned however, news is always changing. On Tuesday, an earthquake rocked Mexico, collapsing buildings and forcing individuals to evacuate. As time passed, the statistics for how many buildings were damaged or destroyed continued to change along with the actual strength of the quake as measured on the Richter Scale. For news like this, it is written by an MJ as the story is still developing and copy editing is key.

We not only checked, but double checked the facts on the various elements of the newscast involving the earthquake to be sure it was as accurate as possible at the time our show aired at 6 p.m.

Copy editing is so important because factually, we are here to inform the public and our viewers trust us to provide the most accurate information. Grammatically, copy editing is necessary so that our anchors are able to properly and effectively communicate the news to our audience; if a portion of the script is misspelled or confusing grammatically, the anchors may stumble over the text and improperly communicate the news to the audience.

By copy editing immediately after each element of the newscast is written, and continuing to check back and edit details and statistics throughout the day, I am able to fix a large amount of mistakes. However, with so many things to focus on as producers, we can also miss errors. For this reason, I always try to have another MJ look over the stories others have written throughout the day and copy edit as well. By checking, double checking, and even triple checking, we are able to produce the best possible stories for our newscast. 

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