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Editing a Newspaper (Grade 8)

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Editing a Newspaper

Not all journalists are focused on reporting the news. Some are focused on editing it. These journalists are called editors and they are an important part of a newsroom. There are multiple types of editors who work in journalism, they include:

• Editors-in-chief
• Managing editors
• Assignment editors
• Copy editors

An editor-in-chief is the head editor of a newspaper or magazine. This editor’s job is to make sure the entire newspaper or magazine looks good, is laid out well and contains quality news. The size of the newspaper or magazine determines how involved this editor is in the actual editing process. A large newspaper or magazine may use an editor-in-chief to simply give the final product a once-over, while a smaller newspaper or magazine may have the editor-in-chief double-checking all of the articles before it goes to print.

A managing editor sits under the editor-in-chief. It is this editor’s job to do a general review of the paper as a whole, checking it for major errors and inconsistencies. Sometimes there are multiple managing editors for sections such as sports, features, or arts and entertainment. This editor usually has the final say before that section goes to print.

An assignment editor is usually the first editor to look at a reporter’s article. However, an assistant editor’s time is not spent looking for typos. This type of editor works with a particular section of a newspaper and is responsible for assigning article topics to reporters, providing suggestions for research and sometimes even telling a reporter exactly what to focus on within the article. Once an article has been written, an assistant editor does look for typos, but she will also look for controversial issues, words with negative connotations, confusing wording and factual inaccuracies.

A copy editor gets to review an article or story after an assistant editor, but this editor’s job is not just to double check the article for typos and issues with phrasing or wording. Instead, a copy editor is focused on how the article looks, writing a headline, making sure the article fits within the newspaper’s layout and adding any necessary graphics.

Journalists who write articles have to do some editing of their own, too. When an editor receives an article, he expects it to be largely free from typos, grammatical mistakes and other errors. Editors have a lot of articles to look at each day and sometimes even have to write articles, feature stories and editorials themselves. To help an editor out, a journalist can look over an article before submitting it to an editor and ask the following questions:

1. Are there any misspelled words?
2. Are all verbs in the correct tense?
3. Do all of the pronouns agree with their antecedents?
4. Is there anything that could be taken the wrong way?
5. Is there anything insensitive or that could be seen as offensive?
6. Are any major facts missing?
7. Are all of the facts in the article correct?

Once journalists hand the article over to the editors, they will answer these questions as well. They will also answer questions such as:

1. Will this article fit in the space we have available?
2. Are all of the titles formatted correctly?
3. Should anything be added to make it more interesting?
4. Should anything be added to make it clearer?
5. Should anything be taken out?
6. Does the article fit with the tone and feel of the paper as a whole?
What is the main idea of this passage?
  1. Journalists play an important role in the creation of a newspaper.
  2. Many editors look over pieces of a newspaper before it is published.
  3. The editor-in-chief is the head of a local newspaper.
  4. Some newspapers have more editors than others.
Editors at a newspaper are only focused on checking an article for typos and grammatical errors.
  1. True
  2. False
Why does the author include the first list of questions?
  1. to help editors know what to look for when they review articles
  2. to help journalists improve their articles before they turn them in
  3. to show what the editor-in-chief wants to see in an article
  4. to show what makes a quality article for a newspaper
Which type of editor typical writes a headline?
  1. Editor-in-chief
  2. Managing editor
  3. Assistant editor
  4. Copy editor
If you are a journalist who has an idea for an article, which editor will you go to?
  1. Editor-in-chief
  2. Managing editor
  3. Assignment editor
  4. Copy editor

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