Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Highlights, details, etc.

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The revised second edition is out for January 2013.

What’s new: In Strategy #3, read how editors can coach staffs to “manage up,” so that the content producers on their teams can anticipate what’s expected in newsrooms where staffs are leaner and there’s less top-down direction to lean on; in Strategy # 4, explore how to use social media to involve the audience, meaningfully; in Strategy #19, reflect on how to juggle competing digital interests; and in Strategy #36, consider how to use all your tools, and the best tools, smartly; and in Strategy #43, pick up smart tips on data visualization.

In addition to these new strategies, the second edition also includes updated examples and assignments, with a finer focus on social media and digital tools.

The second edition — like the first — is divided into three parts:

Part One, “Think Like an Editor,” prepares editors to see the big picture and to approach content from the editor’s perspective.

• Part Two, “Work Like an Editor,” emphasizes the basic skills of copy editing, which are intended not only for journalists on a copy desk but for all editors.

• Part Three, “Act Like an Editor,” explains the best ways editors can use their authority responsibly; how to avoid ethical missteps; how to get along with colleagues; and how to spot and deal with plagiarism and fabrication.

The “Think Digital” segments explain how editors can involve readers and themselves. The assignments are designed to help editors think and act — to put themselves through the same mental exercises that professional journalists go through in the course of their work every day.

 

Table of Contents:
Part I: THINK LIKE AN EDITOR
1. An editor’s credo

Managing the Story
2. 10 Steps to a Better Story: How to Work with Reporters on a Focused Plan before They Report
3. Manage the Editor: Coach Reporters to Coach You for Better Story Results
4. Social Media: It’s Integral for Your Audience to Be Interactive and Involved
5. News judgment: How to Decide What’s Important
6. Curiosity: How to Nurture This Trait and be the “Idea Person”

Analyzing the Story
7. See the Big Picture: How to Answer, “What’s the Story?”
8. 10 Questions in 10 Minutes: How to Keep the Story Talk Going
9-13.: Structure: How to Ensure an Organized Story
9. Structure: Opening Paragraphs
10. Structure: Lead
11. Structure: Quotes
12. Structure: Nut Graph
13. Structure: Cosmic Graph
14. Give Credit: How to Ensure Proper Attribution, Sourcing and Substantiation
15. Show, Don’t Tell: How to Include Anecdotes, Examples and Details
16. Context: How to Provide Background and Relevance
17. Closer Look: How to Tell Where the Story Works and Where It Needs Work

Assessing the Story
18. Skeptical Editing: Ask Key Questions Graph by Graph
19. Competing Digital Interests: How to Keep Readers with You
20. Sensitivity: Sexual Orientation/Gender/Race/Religion/Disabilities/Age
21. Holding a Story: 10 Warning Signs That a Story Should Not Run
22. Saving a Story: 10 Things You Can Do to Make a Story Work

Part II: WORK LIKE AN EDITOR
Editing the Story
23. Treat Editing Like a Mystery: How to Approach a Story
24. Edit for AP Style
25. Edit for Grammar
26. Edit for Spelling
27. Edit for Punctuation
28. Edit for Accuracy
29. Edit for Fairness
30. Edit for Balance
31. Edit for Libel
32. Tight Writing: How to Keep It Simple
33. Trim a Story: How to Identify 10 Places to Cut
34. Transitions: How to Change Subjects and Speakers
35. Lively Language: Choose Strong Verbs and Avoid Cliches

Understanding Special Demands on the Story
36. Handling Multiple Platforms and Tools: How to Consider Your Options, Smartly
37. Digital Deadlines: 10 Tips
38. Web Elements: 5 Cautions
39. Ethics
40. Taste

Presenting and Selling the Story
41. Headlines, Keywords and Metadata
42. Points of Entry and Points of Involvement
43. Data Visualization
44. Photos
45. Promos and Refers

Part III: ACT LIKE AN EDITOR
Using Authority Responsibly
46. Corrections: Own Up to Mistakes
47. Credibility: Put Yourself above Reproach
48. Plagiarism and Fabrication: What Editors Can Do
49. Deadline Pressure: How to Get Along in the Newsroom
50. Keep Asking Questions