This morning I attended “Cut the Crap: Eliminating Errors,” a session about stopping common errors from reaching the readers of your publication. While the session was interesting, and had real life examples straight from an Illinois college newspaper, it felt a little dull and repetitive.
There were multiple errors talked about, spelling mistakes, incorrect publication dates and boring ledes. However, during the first half of the talk, it felt like all I heard was, “Be more careful when editing the paper.” The speaker never mentioned any specific way to prevent these errors besides being careful and paying close attention to detail, and I could have come up with that idea on my own.
However, once we got past the spelling mistakes and incorrect publication dates, I thought what the speaker had to say about ledes and sentence length was valuable. She emphasized to find information that no one else can give the reader and use that for the lede. Be careful about not accidentally misleading the audience with weird wording. Show that an article isn’t like every other article out there, and instead find information that makes the story special.
The main takeaway I took from the session was to create a checklist that every page has to go through before it is deemed complete. But I probably could have come up with that on my own too.