If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Monday, 12 December 2011


Revise Editor. Quality Controller. The importance of either of these titles or holders of these positions in a newsroom should never have to be justified. Automation or the loftiest of technological advancements just seem incapable of eliminating 'human errors' in finished news products.

With TV news, the level of alertness required from an editor is probably more taxing because, well, whatever is being processed, be it news highlights, lower-third story tags or titles, sometimes have to go straight on air.

And matters get complicated if it's one person doing this wonderful example of high pressure multi-tasking. The result: the hideous spelling mistakes you see in your evening TV bulletin, the humongous grammatical howlers or simply put, a very dedicated 'mission possible' to massacre the English language.

The solution: a revise editor or quality controller. A fresh or last set of eyeballs to go through the finished news product, especially its textual or graphical elements.

Call me a division of labour junkie but at times you really give your best to ensure the product is error free, only to be made aware of some very embarrassing albeit elementary mistakes, just when it's impractical to redeem your grammar soul.

Now here is the funny part though. Most local newspaper or magazine publishers I know of, do have somebody designated to do the work of a revise editor or quality controller. And yet grammatical or even factual errors do abound in finished products.

There is usually an elaborate chain of people, nay, 'journalistic 'experts or gatekeepers, strategically placed in the assembly line of a newspaper, from the reporters, to the news editors, from the sub editors to the managing editor. And oh yes, somewhere along the line is often a revise editor.

It thus beats me, why a newspaper story should pass all these checks and publishing pit-stops and still hit the newsstands, stating that Uganda is among the major East African cities, like Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Neither is it that easy to comprehend why a 'famous' football team from Germany should be referred to as 'Hamburger!!' (Oh the horror, given it's the team I have been supporting for donkey years).

But then again, as a fellow error-prone journalist, I shouldn't be too quick to pass judgement.

No comments: