There have been examples of some small papers functioning without sufficient editing operations but generally, the news stories offered by them are very weak and unimpressive. In fact, those who edit the news enjoy the same importance in good newspapers as the reporters of the news. Those who edit the news are called copy-editors or subeditors. Generally sub-editors are graduate reporters and they get good salaries. Some reporters may have spoiled their good stories, by interfering with their original prose or by cutting the important parts of their stories or by giving misleading headlines to their stories. Some reporter may even nurse a feeling in his heart that an editor has run other stories instead of his highly deserving story.
But there are also many experienced reporters who would accept the fact that the editors have improved their stories by correcting the errors and properly trimming them. It is the duty of the editors to offer the readers only the best stories in their newspapers by rejecting the less deserving ones. There is no doubt that a bad editor can even ruin the news value of good story by miswriting the headlines or by cutting the essential parts of the story. On the other hand, good editing by an experienced editor can enhance the news value of the stories. The good editors will not make a wide choice of stories which are available on their desks but also improve greatly their effect and language by their editing. Good editing is very necessary for a good report.
The editor tries his level best to improve on the original effort made by his reporter. He would like to give it a good headline and also improve the phraseology of the report to enhance its effect. No editor worth his salt would like to spoil intentionally the good work done by a reporter. Rather he would do his utmost to fill up the holes in the story and give it a dress up to make it presentable.
The editors not only have to decide which story should reach their readers and with what emphasis by they have also the final responsibility for the maintenance of accuracy and clarity in their news items. They also try to see that the story confirms to their style as well as it is understood correctly. Good editing means scrupulous attention to the spellings and grammar of everything which appears in the newspaper. Correct spellings are not only necessary for accuracy but they are also necessary for maintaining the good image of the newspaper. A good copy editor or a sub-editor is expected to improve the phrasing of the stories. To make the stories read better he may shorten or lengthen the sentences, improve the vocabulary or even rearrange the paragraphs. The sub-editor may improve the story and remove the flaws in it.
Thus, the sub-editor’s desk is the last chance for repairing and improving the news items.