Follow protocol to protect paper

8 Feb

Protocols are important and should be followed in order to make sure that stories are thoroughly edited. The copy editor does more than just blindly fix grammar, spelling and punctuation in a story. They are trained to look for discrepancies, holes and confusion within a story. Copy editors are essential to the editing process. However, they are not gods. Copy editors and reporters need to constantly communicate to make sure meaning is not mistakenly changed and that the story is the best it can be. Protocols are important to many papers, and many editors must adhere to some kind of protocol. As seen in this job listing for an Editor on JournalismJobs.com, many companies are including a reference to following protocol in their job postings. In the Sun story “Fans welcome Lil’ Wayne to O’Dome” the importance of protocol is highlighted.

In the story, the writer speculates who killed the policeman by saying he was an alleged drunken driver. The copy editor should have talked with the reporter and then double checked this information to find out the exact circumstances of the crash. They could have talked to the police department to find out any updates on the status of the case. Was the “alleged drunken driver” ever arrested? Was he released. They need to be clear on the situation before publishing the story. The information that was published speculates and is not crystal clear to readers. The copy editor should have taken more time to scrutinize the story and notice this. Making an assumption like this could jeopardize the paper’s creditability. What if it’s not true? What if they are publicly tarnishing an innocent man in the paper? It is important to be sure before publishing.

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