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Making a long story short

There is a wider range of news available than ever before

Audiences have less time to absorb them
Prevalence of digital and mobile devices

News stories are getting shorter

Stories are being edited for brevity, and a new story form -- the brief --
is emerging as a crucial part of news reports.
 trimming stories to fit the needs of the audience
 it seeks to clarify and simplify
 shortens news accounts
 also editing for clarity
 requires a firm but flexible sense of news judgment

Excess baggage:
Endless string of quotes and paragraphs of secondary detail and
repetition once common to news stories

 thinking through the story

 eliminating repetition
 cutting secondary information
 providing context
 using quotes and details wisely

It also requires special attention to accuracy as stories are reorganized

and facts are deleted.
 Stories written in the inverted pyramid are the simplest trim, they
are structured that way.
 All major cuts deserve careful attention so that important details are
not lost.
 Shortening print and broadcast stories for use on the web or other
digital media requires thinking about users’ needs and digital habits
The Brief
The shortest stories – one- and two-paragraph summaries
growing in importance as breaking news items and tweets on the web
and mobile media

Web packaging
breaking up a print story into one more suitable for an online
another form of shortening stories
Short, tightly edited stories can provide information about potentially
important events and issues at an early stage, long before they reach
the front page or the top of the newscast.
What do these historic news stories have in common?

The Vietnam War

The development of the internet
The emergence of Al-Qaeda

The answer: They all first appeared as news briefs.

The emergence of AIDS started when an editor sensed the urgency in
the fragmented medical accounts of a bewildering “gay plague” that
began to surface in the late 1970s.

The Al-Qaeda story, meanwhile, surfaced when an editor, in the 1990s,

saw the potential implications of a global network of extremists willing
to attack Western influences at their source.
 proverbial “last line of defense” as news makes its way to the
 also scouts on the news frontier
 helping to identify and shape tomorrow’s most important stories as
they enter the public consciousness
Not all short stories graduate to become top news items
Editors’ job is to help improve stories and help audiences understand them

Reality of space and time

 requires editors to trim a story to fit a small news hole or time slot

can be done with little damage to the story

sometimes, the toll is more severe
by trimming skillfully and judiciously, the editor can minimize the damage
 Trimming a story can be as simple as cutting it from the bottom
 Complex trimming requires editors to compress dozens of story
elements into three or four, rewire the connections, and repackage
them with a fresh lead
 Drastic cuts may sometimes be unavoidable, but good editors will
do everything in their power to respect and protect reporters’ hard
Bothered by allergies, a condition that made them sneeze, some of the
preschool children had sinus troubles that caused them to miss several
days in nursery school.

Bothered by allergies, some children missed several days in nursery

At this point in time we can't ascertain the reason as to why the screen
door was left open.

We don't know why the screen door was left open.

My sister, who is employed as a nutritionist at the St. Luke’s Hospital,

recommends the daily intake of megadoses of Vitamin C.

My sister, a nutritionist at the St. Luke’s Hospital, recommends daily

megadoses of Vitamin C.
What is your basic understanding of predestination?

Explain predestination.

At what point in time will a downturn in the stock market have a really
serious effect on the social life of people as a whole?

When will a downturn in the stock market affect society?

I would call your attention to the fact that our President, who was formerly the mayor
of Davao City, is basically a Southerner.

Our President, formerly the mayor of Davao City, is a Southerner.

He dropped out of school on account of the fact that it was necessary for him to help
support his family.

He dropped out of school to support his family.

It is expected that the new schedule will be announced by the bus
company within the next few days.

The bus company will probably announce its schedule during the next
few days.

The subjects that are considered most important by students are those
that have been shown to be useful to them after graduation.

Students think that the most important subjects are those that were
useful after graduation.
Some people believe in capital punishment, while other people are
against it; there are many opinions on this subject.

There are people who are for and people who are against capital
Group 1
Thinking through the story
Make the inverted pyramid work for you

Group 2
Plan on one idea per paragraph
Look for the key quote
Group 3
Limit background and history
Eliminate incidental settings

Group 4
Summarize long titles and organization names when necessary
Forget process
Group 5
Eliminate one-and-two-word lines
Think of your audience
Part I. True or false. (5 points)

1. Editors’ jobs change as technology evolves and new media emerge,

but their basic mission does not remain the same.
2. The editor carries so many roles and responsibilities, it’s somehow
difficult to categorize the job at all.
3. News editors for broadcast create compelling news reports by
combining videotaped and live reports with other elements such as
4. Executive editors and news directors have extensive experience in
reporting and editing, but don’t have training in management,
budgeting and administration.
5. At small and mid-sized news operations, copy editors are likely to
double as designers and layout editors.
Part II. Multiple Choice. (5 points)
Please encircle the letter of your answer.

1. _________________________ and their convergence of print, images

and audio are transforming both the news media and the news
audience in powerful, positive ways.
a. Broadcast media b. Print media c. Online media d. Public relations

2. The _________________________ as has reshaped the mainstream

media and given rise to new grassroots forms of journalism.
a. Web b. Cable television c. Newspaper d. Radio
3. _________________________ is the means by which editors decide
what news is important and how it should be presented.
a. news values b. news judgment c. instinct d. none of the above

4. It is not enough that a copyreader works at a newspaper. He must

have ___________________ for it.
a. experience b. gut feel c. passion d. curiosity

5. Clarity increases _________________________, which is the main goal

of journalists.
a. transparency b. credibility c. reliability d. integrity
Part III. Fill in the blanks. (5 points)
Supply the correct answer.

A news story is said to possess TIMELINESS if it stresses events that

occurred today or yesterday.

In regard to news values, PROMINENCE refers to how well known the

people involved in the story are.
BIAS/ MEDIA BIAS is most likely to appear in a news story when the
reporter relies on one source or gives disproportionate time to space
to one side of a controversy.

The concept of PROXIMITY suggests that a news organization is likely

to carry a story about a murder, if that crime was committed locally.

“Hard news” is about serious topics and recent events, and SOFT
NEWS refers to human interest stories.
Part IV. Editing for brevity.
Restructure if needed. (25 points)

Because of the fact that people benefited from reading my article, I

decided to follow up with another.
Because people benefited from reading my article, I wrote a
follow up.

Brian, who is a writer and a consultant, is an interesting person.

Brian, a writer and consultant, is an interesting person.
The article, which was written by Norman, was well received.
Norman’s article was well received.

It is to be hoped that we discover a means to create an absolutely

proper and fitting tribute to Professor Espinoza.
We hope to create a fitting tribute to Professor Espinoza.

There are millions of fans who desperately want the Hartford Whalers
to stay in the city.
Millions of fans desperately want the Hartford Whalers to stay in
the city.
Part VII. Word Choice. (5 points)
Underline your answer.

compliment /
Even as teenagers, they finished each other's sentences,
__________________ and encouraging the other.

farther /
But the agency sought to go __________________, by exploring the
reasons for those deficiencies.
premier /
The Mainstage Season will begin with the New York __________________ of
Itamar Moses' Completeness.

discreet /
It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, __________________

council /
He had argued that he received ineffective assistance of __________________
at trial.