Notes, Exercises, Videos, Tests and Things to Remember on Art of Sub Editing and Rewriting of News
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The subeditors may be male, middle-aged, who worked on the news pages of a national newspaper and they are the journalists who check, polish and correct stories written by the reporters. The sub-editor is a person who prepares copy for the press. There are various sources for the news. Some of them are reporters, telephone, fax, email, internet, news agencies, correspondents, stringers, unexpected sources etc. The main job of the sub-editors is to make news story suitable for publication. The sub-editors write headlines for those stories and sometimes they decide how to arrange stories and pictures on a page. They help day-to-day editorial writing according to their beats. A special talent and knowledge of different levels is needed for the art of sub-editing. The sub-editing must have the different qualities, like versatility, good work attitude, willingness to collaborate across the newsroom. He must have free eyes to discover errors, deadline conscious performance, knowledge of current events and willingness to take responsibilities for finding solutions to the workplace. Similarly, here are some of the things that the sub-editors should do.
The sub-editing is a learning by doing process. Sub-editing needs clear, brief, accurate, errorless writing and presentation of information. Some of the points of sub-edit are as follows:
The principles of rewriting are the same as those for good news writing. If a story does not conform to acceptable news writing standards, it should be rewritten and made to do so. Good writing needs practice. For gathering information and writing the news story the reporters have to spend hours. The rewriting of the effective news story are listed below:
1. Read the story aloud
The best way to test the clarity and grace is reading aloud. By reading the story loud, we can know about the sentences, paragraph confusing, mistakes. Historian Bardara Tuchman said-“ After seven years’ apprenticeship in journalism, I have discovered that essential elements of good writing are a good ear. One must listen to one’s own prose.”
2. Check the sentences
It is necessary to check the sentences. The length of the sentences should be verified. Reader comprehension decreases as sentence length increases. The full stop is one of the clear writer's best friends.
3. Check the writing for clutter
It is necessary to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. The phrases, jargon, redundancies, long words of the story must be checked. The gardener knows that he must thin his plants after the first seedlings appear. Otherwise, his entire crop will suffer. The same holds true for writing.
4. Use SVO pattern
The careful writer is precise. A writer must be selective with his/her words. Ask these questions to make sure you have been precise. Make sure that you have used SVO( subject –verb- object) construction in most of your sentences.
5. Avoid libel
The Truth is the best defense against libel. As we know that knowing it and proving it are two different things. Be certain you can prove what you publish. If you repeat a libelous statement, you can be liable even though it is attributed. Disclaimers such as ‘ it is alleged” or “ it is reported’ won’t save you. Libel usually results from carelessness, exaggerated writing, statements of officials made outside privileged situations. (Binaya Devkota)
Binay Devkota, and Leelawati Khadka. Acharya, B.B. Mass Communication. Kathmandu, Nepal: Pradhan Book House, Exhibition Road, Kathmandu, Nepal, First Edition 2066(2009). 232 - 235. Electronic.