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Writing: Editing

Get Me Rewrite!

 

Today's Snack: In the olden days, newspaper reporters and editors used to smoke cigarettes and cigars, often dangling them from their lips as they typed stories. Nowadays, we know better than to smoke anything, because of the danger to our lungs and health. But just for fun, peel a large carrot, cut off the ends, and hold it in your mouth as you work on this activity, like a big cigar - only this one gets shorter not because you're smoking it, but because you're eating it! Drink a big glass of water, too.

 

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Supplies:

Pencil and paper

If you have a friend, you can use cell phones or regular phones for this, too

 

 

In the heyday of newspapers, before TV was in the news business or email was even invented, reporters used to go to news scenes covering big stories, take notes on paper, and then call the newsroom and dictate a story while looking at their notes.

 

When the newsroom operator answered the phone call, the reporter - usually on deadline and in a big hurry - would shout, "Get me Rewrite!"

 

The "Rewrite" person was another reporter or editor, in the newsroom. He or she would team up with the reporter on the scene via telephone. The two of them would collaborate to write the story so that it made sense and still made the deadline. Sometimes, Rewrite would send the story on exactly as the reporter dictated it. Other times, Rewrite would change the reporter's wording, look up more facts to add, or make more phone calls for more information, and change the story a lot before turning it in.

 

Now let's try doing some Rewrite to work on our writing skills:

 

1.      If you're doing this with a friend, you can do this by phone, or do it in person.

 

2.      One person (the "Reporter") makes up a sentence or paragraph, and the other one (the "Rewrite" person) listens. Then the Rewrite person writes it down, changing it with a different word or two or three, to make it even better.

 

3.      Do this 5 or 10 times. You can trade off being Reporter and Rewrite and see which role you like better. If you are good at editing "on the fly" - quickly, as you have to in Rewrite - you have a very important writing skill that will help you in any career you choose - especially if you go into communications!

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Writing 2012

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