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Chopping stories

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jakewriter82, Aug 30, 2007.

  1. jakewriter82

    jakewriter82 Active Member

    So at my shop we run occasional wire feature stories, and even wire series stories on a variety of topics.
    Now, I understand that we're not at the top of the food chain and our resources don't provide us the chance to do as much local reportage on non-essentials that the editors would probably like.
    I work as a copy editor and part of that responsibility involves cutting wire stories, I get that.
    Anyway, today I found out we're running parts of a series from the LA times, and I happened to catch the last part of the series to run.
    The story requires subheads and a substantial amount of cutting.
    The original story is 130 inches and we're running 50 inches.
    A meat cleaver hack job to the story, but my question would be...is this normal?
    Does your shop cut features to that extent?
    Does your shop run features from wire sources?
    I'm in the process of slashing the story right now, and it feels like first-degree murder.
    But, I guess perhaps it's normal. I'm fairly new to the business, so I don't really know.
  2. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Depends on the story and how it's constructed (i.e. whether it's easily cut or if it's built in a way that killing more than two paragraphs kills it). What I find odd is if they're making a conscious effort to run the series, that they wouldn't make sure there was enough space to run it without having to deep-six 80 inches. Or possibly find a spot in the middle and cut, then run the rest of it on the following day.
  3. BigSleeper

    BigSleeper Active Member

    That's a pretty tall order, but it's not impossible. If you're cutting down a story that much, you best bet is to find the meat of the story and think alternative story forms. Ask yourself what is the most essential information of this package and how can I best help the reader digest it. With that in mind and a little time and massaging, you could end up with a 15-inch narrative and several shorter breakouts. I've done it.
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