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Module 13: édition et la production

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Le rôle des éditeurs

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Editing and Producing

The Role of Editors

Newsroom Editing

A typical daily newspaper has a staff of journalists who cover a wide range of news. Most of the journalists at a local newspaper usually work for the city or metro desk, covering stories in the community the newspaper serves.

A large newspaper with national circulation adds national and international or foreign desks, with reporters based in the nation’s capital and in other countries.

Some journalists work for specialized sections of the newspaper, covering sports, business, or features.

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Checking

Editors serve as a second set of eyes looking for any errors in a story. The emphasis here is on a second set of eyes. That’s because reporters should always check their own copy for accuracy before submitting it to an editor.

A first draft is a good start, but that’s all it is. Every writer should allow some time for revising and reviewing of his or her own copy. Good writing, by definition, requires rewriting.

Reviewers

Editors and producers work closely with journalists, discussing and reviewing their stories. Newspaper editors check copy, choose illustrations - either graphics or photos - and decide how the story will be laid out on the page as well as the headline.

In most broadcast newsrooms, reporters do not record their scripts or assemble their stories until a producer has reviewed and approved the content. Producers also decide the order of stories in the newscast and the amount of time to be allocated to each story.

Newsroom Leaders

Editors need to be strong journalists and newsroom leaders. They are involved in the news process from beginning to end. Editors need good news judgment because they serve as assignment managers, responsible for deciding what stories will be covered and by whom.

They must be good writers in order to help to shape the story as it is developing, discussing it with reporters in the field and deciding where to deploy more people to cover additional angles.

Editors

Newspaper editors assign the stories, they edit the written text or “copy,” and they supervise the design and layout of pages. In most large newspapers, editors specialize in just one of these tasks, but at smaller newspapers, one person may handle them all.

In addition, newspapers may have a photo editor who oversees a staff of photographers, as well as a graphics editor who supervises the work of artists creating maps, charts, and other informational graphics.

The Role of Editors

Newsroom Editing

Editors and journalists alike should read copy out loud - especially in broadcast newsrooms - listening for sentences that are too long, redundancies, awkward phrases, and double meanings.

In many newsrooms, editors have the authority to change a journalists copy without consultation to fix these kinds of basic problems.

Most editors either have reporting experience or reporting skills. So when they read a reporter’s story, they are looking for much more than basic accuracy.

Improvements

Improvements

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Improvements

If a story falls short, the editor or producer must be able to work with the journalist to improve the final product. They’re mindful of the need to make stories engaging and interesting. They want to know if a story would make sense to someone who knows nothing about the subject.

That’s when their leadership skills come into play, as they use a process commonly called “coaching.”

They confirm that the journalist has used proper titles for everyone who is quoted, and they review the use of attribution throughout the story.

The Role of Editors

Copy Editors

An accuracy check is the first level of copy-editing. Editors look for grammatical and usage errors, as well as for spelling mistakes. They pay particular attention to subject-verb agreement and subject-pronoun agreement.

Editors make sure that all numbers in a story are correct: addresses, telephone numbers, ages, date, and time references.

Errors

Errors

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Errors

Editors also look closely for any errors of fact, or issues of fairness. Thorough editors read stories with a skeptical eye, keeping the following seven questions in mind:
1. How does the reporter know this?
2. Why should the audience believe this?
3. Is the main point of the story supported?
4. Are the quotes accurate?
5. Are all sides represented?
6. Is something missing?
7. Is the story fair?
The Role of Editors

Coaching Editors

Coaching is a way for editors to help journalists solve a story’s problems independently. It avoids the resentment journalists often feel when an editor fixes problems by rewriting their stories.

It helps journalists learn how to do better work, rather than repeating the same mistakes and letting the editor step in and fix them.

“A good editor coaches reporters through talking to them while they report and write,” says Joyce Bazira, a news editor at the Tanzanian newspaper Alasiri.

Skills

Skills

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Skills

The skills involved in coaching are some of the same skills that distinguish a good journalist: listening attentively and asking good questions. The job of the “coach” is to ask questions and listen, and help the journalist improve the work. That’s quite different from the “fixer” role that some editors play:









COACH
• Helps the writer
• Helps the process
• Develops the writer
• Builds on strengths
• Fosters independence
• Shares control
FIXER
• Fixes the story
• Fixes on deadline
• Undercuts the writer
• Exposes weaknesses
• Creates resentment
• Takes control
The Role of Editors

Coaching Editors

Simple Questions

Simple Questions

Editors who coach always look for something to praise and encourage in every story, and when they point out problems they focus on only a few at a time.

Coaching creates sharper journalism in a more humane newsroom. It makes dialogue a reward, not a punishment.

Because people remember what they practice, coaching ultimately helps journalists do better work and should be a central part of the job as a news editor.

Process

Process

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Process

Many editors resist coaching journalists because they think it takes too much time. They believe it’s faster to make the changes themselves. When the deadline looms, coaching may be impractical. The newspaper must be printed on time, the newscast must go on the air, and mistakes cannot be allowed to go through.

But in newsrooms committed to coaching, editors don’t wait until the last minute to check a journalists copy. By working with journalists throughout the process, editors help produce better stories that require less editing time at the end of the process.

Simple Questions

A coaching editor will talk to journalists before they leave the newsroom, when they call in from the field, and as soon as they return, before they begin to write. The coaching editor asks the following six questions that can help the journalist focus on the story:

1. What is your story really about?
2. What does the audience need to know?
3. How can you make this clear?
4. What do you think of your story so far?
5. What needs work?
6. What do you need to do next?
Feedback

Feedback

The Role of Editors

Supervising Editors

Top editors and news directors set the tone for the newsroom and help to create a positive newsroom culture, establishing and reinforcing the norms and values that employees share.

They encourage open communication and hold regular meetings to make sure everyone understands the goals of the news organization.

Editors should pay close attention to staff morale, and do what they can to bolster it by celebrating successes and rewarding outstanding achievement.

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Feedback

Most editors provide effective feedback which is timely and specific. It is provided both in person and in writing. And most editors also believe in providing some positive feedback in public but keeping all critical comments private.

For most busy editors, the only way to ensure that their employees get the one-on-one feedback they deserve is to schedule regular feedback sessions. Letting employees know how they are doing on a routine basis is a good way to avoid unpleasant surprises at performance-review time.

Headlines

Headlines

Headlines

The Role of Editors

Headlines, Captions, and Teases

In broadcast newsrooms, producers may write headlines and also teases, short descriptions designed to make listeners or viewers stay tuned to get the full report.

Besides editing journalists stories, editors are responsible for additional material that accompanies the stories. In newspapers and online newsrooms, editors write headlines and captions for photos.

A headline gives the audience a quick idea of what the story is about, and tells readers why they should be interested in reading the entire piece.

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Headlines

Headlines, by definition, are short and catchy. A print headline summarizes the story, gets the reader’s attention, helps to organize the news on the printed page, and, through the use of different sizes of type, indicates the relative importance of each story.

When writing a headline, the editor simply does not compress the lead paragraph into just a few words. Good editors try to capture the central point of the story in the headline, so they need to understand a story fully before trying to write a headline.

The Role of Editors

Headlines, Captions, and Teases

Teases

Teases

The language in headlines should be simple and straightforward. Use proper names and present tense.

Avoid trite or overused expressions and be extremely careful with puns or double meanings. Headlines that try too hard to be funny, clever, or gripping often fail. Above all, headlines must be accurate and honest, not misleading.

What is in the headline must be in the story. Nothing annoys a reader more than a story that doesn’t deliver what the headline promised. Much like a headline, a broadcast tease is designed to draw the viewer’s attention to the rest of the story.

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Teases

These are subject to many of the same rules as headlines. Producers must watch the story and talk to the reporter before writing a tease. Trite and clever doesn’t work in teases any more than they do in headlines. And teases should not over-promise or over-sell the content of the story that follows.

Unlike a newspaper headline, the broadcast tease is written in complete sentences. It stands alone, separated from the story by other news or advertising content. A tease usually does not summarize the story the way a headline would, since its goal is to make the viewer want to stay tuned in order to learn more.

Captions

Captions

Captions

The Role of Editors

Headlines, Captions, and Teases

Photo captions also have a different purpose from headlines. Instead of summarizing content the way a headline does, a caption helps the reader appreciate what’s inside the visual frame.

The photograph and caption together form a small story that the reader can understand without having to read the text of the story that accompanies it. Most captions are short, just one or two lines in small type.

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Captions

Captions should clearly identify the main people in a photograph. If several people are featured, it’s often helpful to let the reader know that the central character is the one “wearing a cap” or “standing on the right.” Captions should not repeat the wording of the headline or lift a sentence directly from the story.

Caption writers don’t need to spell out what can be seen clearly in the photo. “Carlos Fernández smiles as he gets off the plane” is a less effective caption than: “A jubilant Carlos Fernández returns from 15 years in exile.”
But on occasion, a newspaper or online site will carry multiple photographs with longer captions in a photo essay that tells a complete story.

End Of Unit