Critique the editing

Michael Longinow | Biola University

SEARCH AND DESTROY

Any given edition of a daily or weekly publication will have its share of errors. They're a wealth of learning opportunities. Use the campus newspaper because it's more accessible and culturally relevant to students.

Pull out the campus newspaper, hand one to everyone in the class, and give them 20 minutes to find all the errors in the newspaper. Divide the class into teams. One is copy. One is headlines and cutlines. One is photo-cropping, placement of images (juxtaposition) and overall design flaws.

When the 20 minutes are up, you have each team report to the class what they found. You award a bag of peanut M&Ms to the winner (so the prizes can be distributed).

Then you talk about what they found and how those kinds of errors sneak into the newspaper. Is it a software thing? Is it an organizational problem? Is it a too-many-cooks problem?

You also talk about ways editors can do quality control on each area of error to make sure they don't happen.

Then you talk about what to do when the errors happen. Do you run corrections? How? Where? What do you do about repaired relationships with sources who have been burned? Should you plan coverage that revisits a story that was so badly botched that it damages real understanding of an issue or situation? What's the difference between a retraction and a correction?

THIS EXERCISE CAN BE REPEATED USING THE LOCAL DAILY, BUT BRING IN A COPY EDITOR OR ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR OF THAT PUBLICATION TO TALK ABOUT THEIR QUALITY CONTROL PROCEDURES.

Kathy Campbell | University of Oregon

Kathy used this form to help her students take a closer look at stories that, well, just didnít do it for them.

Date:

Name:

Nomination for this week's ...

Editing that Didn't Do it for You

Copy Editing Award

A. The Clip (describe and attach):

B. The Problem:

C. The Solution (with reference):

D. Cringe

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