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And the next fist fight at WashPost will be...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Yikes, Tom Boswell versus Andrew Alexander, the Post's ombud.
    Alexander notes that print readers were less than pleased with Boswell's piece from the World Series that contained not one, not two but "contained at least 20 typos, grammatical errors or misspellings."

    Double yikes. The headline on Alexander's piece is, "Deadline pressure yields a "mess" of a World Series column"

    Triple yikes.
  2. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Oh god. Something that bad, the desk has to take a bullet, too.

    YGBFKM Guest

    Maybe the Post is working smarter like a lot of papers by eliminating copy editors.
  4. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Not surprising. At all. Especially to anyone who reads Boswell on a regular basis.

    It's even worse during his weekly online chats. Dude can't get through two sentences without at least three or four typos. It's so bad, it's embarrassing.
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Wow. Sounds like the WaPo got rid of a few miracle workers in their last round of cuts.
  6. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Errors in an online chat are on the writer. Errors in a PRINT column are a team fuckup. If there aren't enough copy editors to do the job, the person responsible for the problem is publisher Donald Graham -- not that I'd expect any ombudsman to point that out.
  7. SEeditor

    SEeditor Member

    Just goes to show how important copy editors are.
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    SE, you couldn't be more correct. The first people I wanted to thank for the memories when I left the Herald were the deskers. God, how often they saved my ass.
    At my current job, I am my own copy editor. It's terrifying.
  9. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    Since accuracy is the point of this thread: The publisher of The Washington Post is Katharine Weymouth. Her uncle, Don Graham, is board chair for the company.

    As for the errors. Boz definitely is of the old school, in terms of expecting the desk to catch everything and maintain his pristine image. Fact is, these World Series games didn't end until nearly midnight and the old hand was up against an impossible deadline. At that point, it's basically the slot editor giving it a quick read and then slapped on the page.

    The errors, of course, aren't defensible. Boz has been around long enough that he should know better than to be sloppy. That's on him. But we're being naive, and negligent, if we ignore the fact that tighter-than-ever deadlines severely hack into the editing time on gamers, and result in more errors like these.

    That said, I think very few out there match Boz for his baseball gravitas and chops. Great writer who I hope sticks around for at least another decade or so.
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Sounds like they're trying to do too much in the time they have. Newspaper credibility continues to take hits. Readers don't want to hear about your deadlines being the reason for sloppiness. Figure out how much you can do with the time you have and do that.

    I had writers who were clean and punctual. You could give them a little more time. I had writers who tended to go too long and some who had typo issues. They didn't get as much time. On a night when there were 10 live things, everybody got a little less time. On a night when there were only 1-2 live things, everybody got a little more time.

    You put out a sloppy product, it's on everybody.

    Clean Boswell up, throw him on the Web. Period.
  11. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Everyone is right. It's a system failure. Like any system, there are ways to cope. They're not ideal, but they exist.
  12. Harry Doyle

    Harry Doyle Member

    All good points. The question will always center around credibility. But does it take a bigger hit if your readers don't have a column at all on the World Series, or if the column is there, brilliant, but sloppy.

    I see arguments both ways. But after reading your thoughts Moddy, I tend to think holding the column and directing readers to the Web is smartest. At least then your standards can't be questioned. However, this practice will eventually lead to the question of why bother even having a columnist at games and write night-of pieces if they won't make print.

    I think it's tough to fault the Post for trying to do too much. They're just trying to give readers content that they've come accustomed to having. They're already not making the first two editions, they're not getting gamers from the Central time zone. The value of the daily sports page is slowly evaporating, and the Post is just trying to hang on. It's like Elton John touring and singing Rocket Man, even though he has to drop his voice an octave at the parts he used to sing in a falsetto voice.
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