The Return Of Rewrite

Rewrite is back, journos!

Before most of the people reading this were born*, newspapers worked very differently. Instead of reporters writing their own stories, it was common for a reporter to gather information and call it back to the “rewrite desk,” where someone would compile the information into a story.

That fell out of practice decades ago, but, Poynter’s Joe Grimm says, it’s making a comeback.

“With newsroom staffs shrinking and the accompanying loss of local knowledge, some editors have said that the reporters or editors who have the skills to rework choppy copy into well-written prose are prized more than they have been in decades.”

Exhibit B, by the way: Deseret Media, in Salt Lake City, has a rewrite desk that re-packages video and still photography, audio, and text into various forms depending on whether it’s more suited for TV, print, or the web.

Moral of the story: if you can cobble a readable story out of multiple inputs (reporting, the wires, Twitter, etc), consider keeping those clips at the front of your package.

*This is an assumption based on almost no hard data. Don’t get snippy.