Editing for Facts and Grammar

Whenever someone writes a story / article for any news-giving source, one must be absolutely sure that everything is correct. After the piece is written, it undergoes an editing process. Everything is checked and re-checked until it can be said with the upmost certainty that this piece is correct. From the facts to the grammar, nothing can be wrong. Newspapers and professional magazines in particular live by this code most fiercely ( It would appear the New Republic scandal involving Stephen Glass did nothing but reinforce this firm belief).

Before a piece is considered suitable to be published, it is editing for authenticity. The grammar is simple to check with the grammar check in a word document. For example, if a one word has a red squiggly line underneath it, then the word is spelled wrong. This is quickly fixed (unless the spelling is so off that the computer doesn’t have any words in its dictionary that closely resembles the misspelled word). If there is a green squiggly line under a whole selection or words, then there is a sentence fragment. If the squiggly line is blue, then there is something like a dash or a comma missing from the word.

However, according to grammar.ccc.edu, “Grammar checkers are available on many word processors. They are far less reliable than spellcheckers, but they are becoming quite sophisticated. Some grammar checkers are quite good at pointing out potential problems and even suggesting possible solutions. Don’t be bullied by your grammar checker, though. The computer can easily catch extra-long sentences and alert you to the fact that a particular sentence is really long. It’s quite possible, though, that you need a really long sentence at that point, and if the sentence is well built (i.e., not a run-on sentence), let it stand. If there are several sentences that the computer judges to be extra-long, however, that’s probably an indication of a serious problem and some of those sentences might be better off broken into smaller units of thought.”

If the paper is handwritten, it is during this stage when the piece is typed and “polished up” so it sounds better. This is done through inserting better vocabulary, making sure the sentences flow more smoothly with each other, and / or ensure the right form is used such as possessive form. Commas being its right place and not being over-used are another grammar correcting concept one must keep in mind when editing one’s written piece. “The real keystone to good writing in any format is proper grammar. While grammar may refer to a very specific set of structural ideas for a linguist, to the average person it is a wide ranging term that is used to describe the varied ‘rules’ of the written word. On the surface level, this can include such simple items like correct spelling and proper usage of punctuation,” (Grant Pearsall). If said piece follows the rules of grammar, then little editing must be done for this part of the process but if the piece did not, expect a lot of red ink on the paper.

Fact-checking is more perilous than grammar-checking. The use of credibility is very important. “CREDIBILITY is the tie that binds all types of journalism across all media. Reporting the news is a type of public service– curating the facts from a day’s events and reporting them in an easy to consume fashion allows the public to stay informed on their world. But this credibility can be jeopardized when mistakes are allowed into the copy. These errors can range from innocent grammatical mistakes, outright factual inaccuracy, or interpreting data in a way that misrepresents the facts. Big or small, the result of making these mistakes are pinholes in the hull of credibility; If too many appear the ship will sink,” (Grant Pearsall).Make sure the sources for the piece’s facts are accurate, not bias, and current.

Whenever someone writes a story / article for any news-giving source, one must be absolutely sure that everything is correct. The grammar and the facts are the two most likely concepts to get scrutinized. After the piece is written, it undergoes a heavy editing process. Depending on the publishing the source, the more heavy the editing process will be. Everything is checked and re-checked until it can be said with the upmost certainty that this piece is correct. From the facts to the grammar, nothing can be wrong. Newspapers and professional magazines in particular live by this code most fiercely.

 

Sources

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/editing.htm

https://granttpearsall.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/editing-for-facts-and-grammar/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/15/AR2010011502419.html

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