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Now that you've researched, reported and written your story, you're done, right? Not so fast. The bad news is you're probably about halfway done, but the good news is that the editing process is where most of your education in journalism will take place.
As Mark Ludwig writes on Poynter.org, editors serve at least 14 functions in the news process. Editors want your story to be as strong as possible, and will work within the constraints of deadlines, story length and topic to make it happen.
Ideally, reporters should work with an editor at every step of the process: talk to your editor about your story idea, possible angles, resources and themes. When you've finished your reporting, you should talk out your ideas for the story with your editor, and once you've finished the draft, your editor will help you polish it and make it the best it can be. So don't be afraid to bug your editor: the editing process goes much smoother if writers and editors have been in regular communication from the beginning.
The typical editing process for a WireTap story goes something like this:
- The writer sends a pitch or gets an assignment; The story topic, source list -- or people you will interview -- length, pay and deadline are confirmed.
- The writer sends in the first draft of the story.
- The first stage of editing is conceptual: does the story make sense, does it flow logically and are there any holes? The editor then sends suggestions back to the writer and sets a new deadline.
- The writer turns in the rewrite.
- The second stage of editing consists of line edits -- light changes to grammar and wording -- and fact-checking. The editor then sends a final version back to the writer.
- The story is published on WireTap with great fanfare and to universal acclaim.
The New York Times on "The Editor's Job"
Editors At Work: