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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

A computer program for editing the news

The computer news editing program is designed to perform the following functions: (1) it will input automatically those stories from the AP Teletypesetter tape which the editor wishes to use; (2) it will make additions and deletions in these stories according to instructions received from the editor; (3) it will attempt to “edit,” i.e. cut from the bottom, the stories in its possession according to (a) an overall news hole limitation, (b) a minimum-lines-per-story limitation, (c) the general interests of the paper's editor in various categories of news, (d) a formula which grants more space to those stories which the editor thinks are more important, and (e) the availability of news on the day in question; (4) it will print out stories cut to desired lengths and arranged in categories. There are, of course, many editing functions which the program does not perform. It does not assign stories to pages; it does not lay out the news and advertising; it does not crop pictures nor provide for display headlines; it does not cut stories (as an editor would) with regard for their meaningfulness and literary effectiveness. In short, the present program is presented more as an “aid to the editor” handling the news than as a complete computer editing system. Designing a complete editing system, though probably feasible, would be a major undertaking.

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