The Power of Editing

As the subject of a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary once ruefully admitted, “What I learned from that programme is that you have to be very aware of the tremendous power of editing”. This is vital to remember for anyone doing a pre-recorded interview. Clearly, with weeks of shooting on a docu-soap you are laying yourself open to much greater scope for a one-sided view of the facts than with a simple news piece. However, we are often surprised at how few interviewees are aware that a five, ten or even twenty-minute radio or TV interview will often yield only a couple of 20-second clips at most.   Even then the reporter may still pick on the very answer you like the least, perhaps because it is the one that reveals most or gives the game away. It is therefore always worth repeating key points a few times, to avoid them getting lost within all the other material – make them self-contained and punchy, rather than intertwined with other points, so it is easier for the reporter to extract them to put in his or her ‘package’. If there is an important piece of context for any of the points you are making, ensure it is interwoven with the main point itself – otherwise it will be all too easy for the reporter to miss the context out, and make you look much more controversial than you wish.