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Dear Gannett: WTF Did You Expect?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Riptide, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member


    The editor of Gannett’s Cincinnati Enquirer tells her staff that many readers complained about mistakes in Sunday’s paper.

    “I need to share these examples with you now,” writes Carolyn Washburn, “and ask each of you to take full ownership of your own clean copy.”

    » Cincinnati Enquirer editor’s memo: We’re ‘getting slammed by readers on sloppy copy’ JIMROMENESKO.COM
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    What's also sad is that she mentions that she spellchecked her copy.

    Like that is all a copy editor does.

    Washburn is one of those train-wreck Gannett editors who always seem to crop up when there is something to criticize about the company.
  3. BDC99

    BDC99 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, just give special attention to your own work. That'll fix it.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    And remember to Picasso your tweets!
  5. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Shocking this would happen after eliminating all the copy editors.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    It's a race to see which holds out longest -- newspapers or people capable of noticing errors in newspapers.

    #-this post was spellchecked
    YorksArcades and Doc Holliday like this.
  7. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    If she's so distressed about the situation but isn't willing to put the necessary resources into an experienced copy desk, I suggest she go into the trenches and start editing copy and writing headlines and cutlines. She'll discover it isn't as simple as "taking full ownership of your own clean copy."
  8. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    This is what upper management never seems to understand. You need someone else's eyes on your copy. When I started, with very rare exception, everything was read twice before it even made the first edition and anything that wasn't filed on deadline was read three times.

    Right before I was let go, our copy desk was so decimated that one of the other guys I worked with would read each other's copy before we filed it. It was rarely more than a 3-5 minute quick read, but he kept me from making a pretty bad factual error once that I don't think the depleted desk would have caught. He had a couple bad ones that I caught.
  9. Guy_Incognito

    Guy_Incognito Well-Known Member

    We've been getting lots of complaints
  10. schiezainc

    schiezainc Well-Known Member

    I LOVE when upper management types take this line of thinking.
    {Company lays off some of its reporters} "Why aren't we producing as much local content?"
    {Company lays off copy editors} "Why are there more mistakes than there used to be?"
    {Company lays off photographers} "Why aren't the photos as great as they used to be?"

    Answer: Because your a freaking idiot!
    (Yes, that's intentional)
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  11. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    A couple years ago, I met up with my assigning editor from my first job. He had taken a buyout the previous year and we were waxing poetic about how much better the paper was when we both worked there than it was now. One of the people who was with us, challenged him on it. He grabbed the Sunday paper, opened it up to the double-truck in sports and found 18 errors in three minutes. Four of the errors were probably subjective. The rest, were bad spelling errors, really sloppy grammar and missing words. The name of the best baseball player on the local team was fucked up. That wasn't even taking factual errors into account.

    I asked him if he thought the story had even been read and he said, "I sure hope not if those mistakes got through."

    This is considered a top 10-20 metro section.

    He then looked at me and said, "This would have come damn close to getting you fired in the late 1990s, now it's like this every day and people are too worried about their jobs to complain."

    This guy is as old school as you get and was the guy who would call you after you filed and say, "You had two run-0n sentences, you used than when you should have used then once and you used the same word six times in four graphs, change it up next time." and would usually hang up without saying bye.

    He was fucking brutal, but he made you better.
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I don't see why she's upset. Doesn't she realize they're now working in a Newsroom of the Future?
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