The Utillity Of A Night Editor In A Newspaper


The chief editors gather or direct the gathering of most of the news. In the late afternoon the “night side”, whose functions are to edit and to print the newspaper, takes control.

In a large newspaper organization, each editor is duplicated at night by an editor whose duties are similar, although modern practice is to fix hours of duty so that the responsible executive is available during the vital hours of the news gathering and editing. Thus there is an over-all night executive, usually called the news editor, with a number of assistants, varying with the size of the newspaper, who exercises general control over the gathering of news of events happening at night and over the editing, placing and printing of all news stories.

The process of “taking over” by the night staff is important, since it is vital that no break occurs between the day and the night activities. In the case of the city editor, this is accomplished by the transferring of the assignment sheet by the day editor to his night counterpart, the record itself being supplemented by oral explanations of the covering or the treatment of stories. In the case of national and foreign editors, no personal transfer takes place, except in special situations, but the night men, by scanning the messages that have been sent and received, obtain a picture of what has been done during the day.

Assuming all the responsibilities of the city editor, his night assistant in addition has control of the writing of most of the news, including that covered during the day, a function little exercised by the day executive. He tells the reporter how much space he may have and, if necessary, how to construct the story.

Under the night editor’s direction also is the city copy desk, made up of a head of the desk and copy editors. With the night editor begins the process of editing the news, which is continued to completion by the copy editors.

A similar system is in effect for both the national and foreign staffs. For these night editors the foreign and domestic bureaus and correspondents makeup the reporting staffs.

Afternoon newspapers have the same general organization, as to function at any rate. But their problems differ and are multiplied because they are reporting, editing and publishing during the day hours when news events are occurring.

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