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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Copy That

I think we can all agree that typos are cringeworthy— they can make an otherwise great story seem unprofessional and rushed. Obviously everyone in the newsroom would like to avoid them, but sometimes misspelled words and disorganized sentences go unnoticed during crunch time. That is why it is so crucial that we all take the time to thoroughly copy edit every story that is written.

All of the producers are responsible for editing scripts in the rundown throughout the day, which helps prevent having an entire show's worth of material to be checked at the end of the day. As the web teammate today, I made sure each story written for the website was clear, concise, and clean, meaning there were no mistakes in the copy. I also copy edited scripts in the rundown once I transferred to graphics teammate.

It is important to edit stories appropriately, depending on their mediums. Stories written for the web tend to be more formal and less conversational than stories written for the broadcast, whereas a story written for the air is more casual. Editing in a consistent tone helps establish a relationship with the audience, because they will feel as if they know you. 

I try to ensure my copy is up-to-par by reading the story aloud and listening to the flow of the sentence structure. This way, I have found tongue twisters and words that are too hard to enunciate that I most likely would have missed if I had only glanced over the copy. I also ask an assignment desk editor to copy edit a story after I do, because two sets of eyes are definitely better than one. 

When it comes down to it, we are telling stories in our newscast. Stories are told using words, so these stories can get very complicated if we don't communicate to our viewers clearly. Sometimes all it takes is a second look, even when you think everything is perfect. 

Moral of the story? Always check, and then check again. Do you copy?

Copy that. 

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