Miller Charmaine

Charmaine's adventures in news writing and editing

Diary Week 11

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I didn’t save any “befores” of my edits to show the results of my work, but next week I am hoping to remember, per your latest request, Dr. Rodgers. I do have notes on my changes, though.

I checked the Gmail account for Reporting student submissions. I replied to one of the submissions in the most polite way I could think of, but I basically did not accept the story for publishing. It seemed very PR-y and had no real news element, which I explained to the student to help her learn. I remember writing pieces like that.

Then Christina and I chatted with some online reporting students, brainstorming story ideas. We wanted to do a cool little story or at the very least, a listing, of the religious holidays occurring this week. One of the online reporting students set off to call pastors and rabbis to comment on Passover and Holy Week.

After the story idea meeting, I read over Web producer Dana’s In the News. I really could not find anything to change. She did a great job.

Dana also gave me an update to a storm story that was written over the weekend. While looking over the update, I found some other changes to make. First, I downstyled the hed. I edited a typo in a photo caption, and in another I added a photo courtesy source. I replaced a normal dash with an em dash, used to separate ideas. I eliminated a serial comma. I made the excerpt. I also changed the much-used wording “causing damage” to “damaging.” I then changed “home-made barn” to AP’s “homemade,” and then decided on a better word: handbuilt barn. My thinking was that it’s a barn, not a pie.

Dana also wrote the bullet points for the Morning News in 90. I just changed “…expected to drop another three-to-five cents” to “…expected to drop another three to five cents.” I grappled over it, but eventually made that decision because the hyphens were connecting something that wasn’t really connected as one word. Those were my thoughts on that. If it’s wrong, punish me and not Dana.

For my last project of the day, I received a story submission written by a MMC2100 student. I can’t blame the writer for this, but I thought the story was a bit too UF-centric. The sources used were a representative from the UF Student Health Care Clinic and two UF students. Also, there was no sense of a time element or anything especially newsworthy. I knew the story was about the impacts of (tree) allergy season, but I wanted to know why we should publish this now, and why our audience would care now. So I took these suggestions to the writer, emailing her to get another source that was outside UF and more of a time frame or number of allergy sufferers compared to seasons and years past in Gainesville. The writer was very dutiful, taking all of my pointers with grace. For that, I am very appreciative. She emailed me today, three days from my original shift, with the new information. I added the quotes in the best I could and changed the story’s status to Second Edit. I was so happy we waited to get a better stor, rather than nuking it entirely.

Other, more technical changes I made: I switched around an anecdotal lede to further down in the story. It just wasn’t getting to the heart of the news until the last few grafs. I didn’t want it to give the impression that we were basing a trend off of an anecdote. I changed a few “says” to said. I deleted phrases that sniffed of editorializing, things like “even” such and such, “always” and “something really simple.” I also deleted a graf that seemed like a PR piece for Zyrtec. It was a good day.



Written by charmainemiller

March 28, 2013 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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