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Editors Talk about Editing

Insights for Readers, Writers and Publishers


Susan L. Greenberg

The work of «editing» is by and large something that happens behind the scenes, noticed only when it is done badly, or not done at all. There is not much information about what editors do. The result is that editing is not often talked about in its own right – not even by the people who do it. This collection of interviews attempts to fill some of the gaps. The author, a former editor herself, interviews practitioners at the top of their game – from newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, book publishing, scholarly editing, academic publishing and digital curation. The interviewees think out loud about creativity and human judgment; what they have in common and what makes them different; how editing skills and culture can be shared; why editing continues to fascinate; and why any of this might matter.
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Chapter 5: Mary Hockaday, BBC Multimedia Newsroom


← 74 | 75 → Chapter 5


Head of Multimedia Newsroom,British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)Interview: Wednesday, July 4, 2012Television Centre, London

At the time this interview took place,1 Mary Hockaday was head of the Multimedia Newsroom, responsible for some 1,000 staff and the overall management of content for all news bulletins, along with the BBC News website. In this role, she oversaw the creation of a combined world newsroom, bringing together news teams from across the corporation2 in a single location for the first time. New Broadcasting House, in central London, put out its first broadcast on July 9, 2012, just a few days after the meeting recorded here.

The BBC, funded by the UK licence fee-payer, is regulated by statutory rules about taste and decency and held accountable to an extensive set of editorial guidelines.3 Within the organisation, all editors are responsible for maintaining the standards written into the corporate charter. In Hockaday’s case, she was also a member of the News Board, which sets editorial policy and responds to complaints.

Hockaday joined the BBC in 1986 as a World Service production trainee. She held roles as a reporter, producer and editor, overseeing the World Service news and current affairs department before moving to wider news management.

The interview touched on a number of underlying questions that influence news editing, such as the difference between neutrality and objectivity.4 ← 75 | 76 → If resumed now,...

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