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Practical Newspaper Reporting, 3rd Edition by Geoffrey Harris, David Spark

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14 SUMMARIZING

Summarizing is bound to occupy a good deal of a reporter’s office time. Such tasks include taking the gist of what a speaker says and condensing it to a few words; taking a short handout, report, or contributed item and making an even shorter news item out of it; reading through a long report, possibly from an official source, and extracting a story from it which is perhaps only 2 or 3 per cent of the length of the original. It means rejecting a lot of the material altogether as well as condensing the remainder.

The short report

A report of a few hundred words can be scanned fairly speedily in a few minutes. Learn to do this without attempting to take in details.

If it is an official report couched in formal language this is not ...

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