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Media Communication Students Explore Editing: As Much an Attitude as a Group of Skills

October 16, 2019

Journalism students at Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) discussed the role of editors in today's newsroom during the Editing and News Judgment class. Editors play a very important role in the newsroom. Like it is said, "With great power comes great responsibility," students are reminded of their responsibility as future editors.

The role of an editor is to verify and oversee the content to maintain accuracy, impartiality, and ethicality before an article is published. In the era of multimedia, the format and the content of the news should also be carefully planned to reach the audience in each media platform.

In order to perform the day-to-day tasks efficiently in fast-paced newsrooms, editors must familiarize themselves with the editing techniques such as determining the news value, verifying the facts, polishing the lead, erasing redundant words, checking the spelling, grammar, and punctuation based on the stylebook, and the like. Above all, one of the very first qualities that an editor should possess is having the right attitude.

"Good editors are the ones who put the interest of the public first, making sure that the citizens know what they need to know to make informed choices in a democratic society," said the instructor Eunice Or.

According to Cecilia Friend and Don Challenger, authors of Contemporary Editing, the four essential aspects of professional editing include - a sense of news judgment, a knowledge of the audience, a commitment to fairness and ethics, a dedication to standards of consistency and reliability.

"Editing is as much an attitude as it is a group of technical skills. The attitude provides the foundation upon which the skills can be developed; the skills, in turn, sharpen the attitude," the authors wrote.

Many students who used to believe that editing is a very mundane work are being challenged to change their perspectives and rethink their purposes as future journalists.