Q: First and foremost, thank you for this excellent and incredibly helpful column.
I am a 24-year-old recent college graduate (non-journalism background) and am wrapping up my first internship at a mid-size daily.
The experience has been enriching but I'm looking to make the next great leap: a full-time job.
While asking my editors for advice, they all cautioned me to send only original "newsprint" clips from my job. I was simply planning on printing off my stories from our internal computer library at the newspaper and mailing them. Some of my newsprint clips are bulky, messy or non-existent (foolish me, I forgot to clip them!). The printouts would not include any artwork and resemble your typical MS Word document but they are clean-looking and would make compiling multiple applications easier. They would mention where the clip was played (A01, B01, etc.) in the paper, as well.
So, do I need send in the "originals" (i.e. my articles cut out as they appeared on the paper) or can I sneak by with the printouts? If the former, what should I do about my "lost" clips? Steal them from the local public library?
Any advice would help.
A: I'm afraid I have to disagree with your editors on this.
Most of the editors I know would prefer copies or printouts.
Originals have their problems. For one thing, they are scarce. We do not want to be responsible for returning one-of-a-kind clips to you. We feel better if we know we're working with copies and nothing you expect to get back.
Second, the convenience factor is considerable. If you have neatly ordered clips in a standard size -- as you get when you photocopy them -- they are easier to handle, file and for making additional copies.
Printouts are as acceptable as photocopies. But don't dare change them, not even to correct someone else's error. They have to be true representations of what was published.
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