Subediting, news language and convention

Tynan, Liz (2015) Subediting, news language and convention. In: Bainbridge, Jason, Goc, Nicola, and Tynan, Liz, (eds.) Media and Journalism: new approaches to theory and practice. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 330-350.

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Abstract

People new to media writing often bristle at the notion that they have to follow someone else's writing rules. A common argument is that rules stifle people's creativity through prescriptive and arbitrary pedantry imposed by people who have no life; and grammar rules keep changing so why should we have to learn them? We don't speak the same way as William Shakespeare did. English evolves…

Yes, language does evolve, and it is a wonderful process, and one that continually enriches our primary communication tool. But a language without rules, even relatively transitory ones, is not a language at all, because it cannot be fully understood by all who use it. Rules are there to create meaning, and meaning is vital in all media professions. Also, high-quality media value consistency, which boosts the overall quality of the product. Consistency helps to put the reader or the listener at ease, as it removes irritation or confusion over trifles and leaves them free to consider the main point of what you have written. Many media settings require employees to adhere to a style, which helps to ensure consistency. The subeditor is often the custodian of a publication's language and style, but all subs appreciate the reporters taking pains in this area as well, so they don't have to spend too much time making avoidable, time-consuming corrections. Consistent writing styles can vary quite a bit; style is not a science, so you will find different media jobs require different approaches. On the following pages are some common principles that should serve as a guide only. The magnificent variety of work in the media throws up a matching multiplicity of writing requirements. In this section the more familiar and common ones are on display, but be prepared to be flexible once you find a job in the industry.

Item ID: 42178
Item Type: Book Chapter (Teaching Material)
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The previous edition of this chapter was published as follows and can be accessed using the link in the Related URLs field:

Tynan, Liz (2011) Subediting, news language and convention. In: Bainbridge, Jason, Goc, Nicola, and Tynan, Liz, (eds.) Media and Journalism: new approaches to theory and practice. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 269-283.

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ISBN: 978-0-19-558801-9
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2016 03:19
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200199 Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190399 Journalism and Professional Writing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8904 Media Services > 890499 Media Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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