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Writing process

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sprclogoFoundations_mainEthical guidelines
Journalists should not be so rushed in their writing, even during a 24-hour news cycle, they fail to engage fully in the writing process of drafting, editing and revising. Journalists should approach their writing from the position of “sense-maker.” That is, they are trying to help readers make sense of an issue for which they likely have little understanding or perspective. In this way, journalists should also act as gatekeepers, selecting the information and context most useful to the reader.

Staff manual process
Student media staffs should establish tiered deadlines that enable accurate and excellent work. This process alone will ensure adequate time to engage fully in the writing process. The staff manual should outline a specific editing sequence that includes multiple drafts and revisions for different sets of eyes.

Suggestions
• Students should let their media goals guide their writing deadline process. It may be helpful to ask “How often do we wish to publish, and what revision timeline will that allow?” and “How will we set up a process that meets these goals and also allows for multiple drafts and editors working with each article?”
• Student editors may choose to pair new writers with more experienced ones for their first few stories or create a system in which cub reporters can shadow and collaborate with veteran reporters for the first few stories.
• Because the publication will be judged on the quality of writing, and some administrators may attempt to use poor writing as justification for shutting down a program, it is important for student journalists to put their best work forward at all times.

Resources
The New Role for Journalists in a Multimedia World, Reportr.net Blog
Lesson: Collaborate and Coach Writers, Journalism Education Association
The Power of Choosing the Right Words and Images, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee
Audio: Getting It Right, JEA Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute

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