Imagine having one day, just 10 hours, to write a half-hour speech. Now imagine having that speech written by 15 different people. Now throw in graphics. Bring in some visual aids. Then imagine having to rewrite the entire thing, sometimes seconds before those words are going to be spoken.
We do that just about every week.
I've mentioned before, there are a lot of moving parts to a broadcast. This makes line editing that much more important. But it's so much more than making sure everything is spelled correctly, though that's important. Our scripting software doesn't have Spell Check.
We have different people writing the script for every single story, sometimes different parts of the same story. One of the most difficult things for us to do is to make it seem like that's not the case, that all the stories and the sound bites we have flow and make sense together.
Another unique aspect of copy editing for broadcast is making sure that all the graphics we have are spelled correctly. We have to make sure the information is accurate; that the names are correct; that it's attributed; and above all that everything's spelled correctly.
If our graphics are not fully accurate, it can be exceptionally difficult. A lot of time it's not nearly as simple as just typing a few letters. Sometimes graphics need to be remade.
The last few weeks we've had to change graphics and scripts on the fly. Two weeks ago, we rushed to finish a few graphics. This week, the show was a bit heavy, meaning that at the rate we were going, we were going to end after our scheduled end time, which is a huge problem.
To fix that we had to jump in and edit a few scripts. Editing a script while on air is one of the most intense deadlines you'll ever work under. Sometimes it feels like you have to rewrite something faster than you read it. We had to remove a few sentences and move some sentences around so that everything made sense.
In that moment it's incredibly helpful to have your fellow producers and executive producers there with you, looking at the script too, making sure you didn't miss anything. Having three other sets of eyes peering over my shoulder helping me out is invaluable and takes a lot of the pressure off. But even still, we're not perfect.