Five enduring rules of news editing journalism students in Nigeria should know

New organizations in Nigeria are existing in a fiercely competitive environment where readers have several online and offline news platforms seeking their attention. Editing is one of the most important aspects of activities of the Nigerian mass media. A poorly edited story makes nonsense of a well investigated story. Editing is one aspect of activities of media establishments in Nigeria that contributes to the overall success of that establishment. Editing is the process of improving on a draft copy of a story with a view to correcting errors and making words and sentences clearer, more precise, and as effective as possible. Editors in Nigerian media organizations understand the pertinence of this activity in the overall success of the establishment.

The person saddled with the responsibility of editing is called the editor. The editor is involved in the process of editing which entails adding, deleting, and rearranging words to make a story clearer and more reader-friendly. The editor is not the only person involved in the process of editing in news organizations in Nigeria. There is the news editor, sub-editor, deputy editor, and line editors. They play roles at different stages in the editing process. However, there are basic rules of editing which are followed in improving on a draft copy. Here are five basic rules of editing you can easily remember. These five basic rules were first posted on nraismc.com.

1. The sub-editor ensures the length and style laid down by the News Editor is followed.

2. The news copy should be marked with setting instructions clearly and carefully such that there is no possibility of confusion or misunderstanding in the composing room.

3. Ensure that everything that needs to be checked has been checked, that is, names, places, titles, dates and anything else that could possibly be wrong.

4. Write a headline that fits.

5. Make sure that the copy as edited is intelligible, easy to read and appetizing. There is no need rewriting a story where it is not necessary. This would be a waste of time and in a newspaper organization time is the most important factor. It is considered in bad taste as it is damaging to the morale of the reporter concerned and danger of committing mistakes is greater.

These rules should be followed in ensuring that the content of a newspaper is error-free and in line with house style of the publication.

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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