Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Question Every Editor Should Be Asking

Is this tweetable?

Carlos Lozada, of the Post, explains:

“When I’m editing an essay or opinion piece, I try to make sure the final version includes some memorable lines that I imagine getting posted, shared, tweeted and retweeted. I’ll even slice a smart but lengthy passage for that purpose. ‘Trust me,’ I advise the author, ‘you’ll get more readers this way.’

“Yes, anticipating the social-media response has become part of the editing craft.

Addendum (2/3/2014): Marc Tracy fills in the backstory, by way of the ever-tweetable BuzzFeed:

“Smith inspected Coppins’s story and noticed that he had buried his only piece of fresh information: an editor at the New Yorker went on record saying that the episode wasn’t going to halt the magazine’s attempt to expand online. Even though it wasn’t a particularly interesting or important bit of news, Smith told Coppins to move it much higher up in the piece, because, as Coppins explained later, ‘It’s the tweet’—the tiny morsel that Smith felt had the best chance of getting attention on Twitter.”

Addendum (5/15/2014): This is encouraging: ProPublica requires its reporters to submit five possible tweets when they file stories.