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Question about writing timely postgame stories in dual reporter/copy editor role

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by DS313, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. DS313

    DS313 New Member

    Hey everyone,

    I'm in my first year as a full time beat reporter, and am still getting adjusted to the everyday grind of having to publish stories daily. The specific challenge I have is that I'm both a writer and my own copy editor (started as the latter, so the bosses figured I could pull double duty). Because of this, I find myself struggling at times to write postgame stories for the web on (relative) deadline without it being the best it can be in terms of the copy.

    I'm very OCD about clean copy, so I wind up fretting that I'll let a mistake or two slip once my story is published. When I say mistake, I mean a basic typo or grammar issue, nothing that relates to the premise or structure of the story. If I have to, I go back and fix something once the post is up, but I always feel a bit dirty for tinkering with an already published story if there's no new information to add.

    How do the more experienced guys here deal with this kind of thing? Is speed and quality something that come through trial and error? And am I journalistically in the wrong if I have to edit something after it's published? Thanks!
  2. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I hate to say it, DS, but most of us are at the point that we no longer give a shit.

    I only say this as someone who is OCD to a crazy level, but after 16 years, I just stopped caring. They push us to do more and more with less and less, and yes, errors still eat at me, but not to the level they used to. I've just learned to get over it ... there'll be another paper tomorrow.

    I was my own copy editor for years. And while I've been told my writing is "the cleanest I've ever seen," I still have occasional typos, and we all have our words that we just can't spell correctly for the sake of God. I used to be afraid of looking at the paper in the morning because I knew I would find a typo. But I'm just too worn out to care anymore.

    If that isn't the answer you're looking for, I'm sorry. But it might be the majority opinion.
  3. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Seconded. Though I won't say I ever stopped giving a shit. I just stopped fretting about it. Like you said, tomorrow is another day. They get what they pay for.
  4. DS313

    DS313 New Member

    Thanks guys. I guess I need to find that happy place of making sure the copy is good enough without fretting too much about mistakes. Especially for stories on the web, worst case scenario is just going back and cleaning it up, I suppose.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If a typo or grammar error is the worst thing that's wrong with your story, you are way ahead of the game.

    And I don't think going back and cleaning up a story is the "worst case."

    But if you feel bad about going back and changing its to it's or whatever, why not take the opportunity to add a fact or tidbit or list or something.
  6. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Deadlines are deadlines, of course, but if it's that much of a concern for you then take three minutes after you finish writing to give it a quick look-over. That's never a bad idea, anyway. Always assume -- especially in this day and age, since it might be true -- that your eyes are the only ones in the office that will scan it for mistakes.
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