The Spokesman-Review : interns

Friday, July 21, 2006

Jared: The importance of a rough edit

For several weeks (far too long, I know) I've been working on a story about a controversial annexation in the north side of Spokane. The city is trying to pull in a strip of commercial areas, but it also included plans to pull in a residential neighborhood owned and maintained by a housing association. Neighbors are pissed, to say the least, because they feel the city purposely chose a petition process that side steps the need for a vote. The city says it's going through a normal annexation process and is trying to avoid the high cost and long wait of an election. Those people should be part of the city because they use city services and state law directs the city to pull them in, the city says.

This story is about up to 44" as I write this, and it's not done. I put my heart and soul into the first draft, but when it came back to me the editor had littered it with notes with recommendations and suggestions. I was dismayed for, oh, probably about five minutes.

Then I realized that I would have been more disappointed if my editor didn't care enough to do what she did. The story, this time, is much better after I did some more reporting and pulled the story in the direction she suggested. Also, there were questions I'm sure readers would have asked that I hadn't answered.

The lesson: Be open to criticism because even if you know way more about a story (obviously, you've been reporting and talking to folks) you probably don't know the best way to present it. It's about trust. You want to find an editor you can fully trust.

To do that, I would recommend talking to reporters (interns are good) who have worked with that editor before. If you can, try writing material for several different desks when you get to your internship. Find the editor who seems to spend the most time on your work and is the most thorough, and go to him or her.

I know I trust my editor a lot more for sending my story back.



Post a Comment

<< Home

How other readers got hereViewer details