Is it Cuttable?

Does anyone like to have their story cut?

We all know the answer to that, but it happens to me on an almost daily basis. I’ve really gotten used to it and, to be quite honest, it doesn’t bother me anymore. It sometimes has to happen. If there’s not enough space, something has to go.

Sometimes I write more than what I asked for, which will almost guarantee a cut of some kind.

The trick to all of this is to write cuttable stories.

Now, I know no one wants their stories cut, but, when editors are in a pinch on deadline, they won’t be happy to know you’ve made it impossible to cut a story. They want to know when how long it is and if it’s cuttable, before you send it. Trust me. They will love you for that. And they’ll appreciate you paying attention to their side of the paper. It’s a balancing act, but, in any case, it’s common sense.

We all work to put the most important facts at the beginning of each story and work our way down from there. That’s the basics. I shouldn’t have to explain the inverted pyramid, right? The rest of the article has the quotes, background and additional info that you need for each and every story.

I usually assume that each story I write will be cut. I don’t hate my writing. I’m just preparing for everything, all of the time. It’s a good habit to get into. You are still writing the stories how you want them, but you are being even more mindful of the length and the flow of facts and quotes. Like I said before, it’s a balancing act. Rearranging a story isn’t fun, but the more you do it the easier it will be.

Cutting isn’t something that’s talked about a lot. It’s grazed over in college, but not seriously considered as something that can and will happen on a daily and weekly basis.

If you are a reporter who doesn’t like to see a story of yours cut, this really should be something you think about. That’s just how things are. Editors won’t ask nicely, either. Trust me

Are stories in the papers too long today? I haven’t thought about that, but it’s something to think about.

Jonathan

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