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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mr. X, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    OK, shotglass, mistakes happen. I'm not disputing that.

    What I am saying is that there's a problem when the process is set up in a way that mistakes get through the alleged lines of defense. For one thing, I think the concept of catching mistakes on a negative is a bad one. That gives people the impression they don't have to do a good job on the original proof because someone else will see the mistake. Finding an error on a negative or by scanning the backward image of a page at the printing computer is a dicey proposition at best.

    I also think it's a big problem that newspapers don't use proofs printed at 100 percent. Type reduced to 70-75 percent is going to be far harder to read. How in hell is someone going to catch a mistake when they can't even read the stuff? As my vision got worse, I had to settle for skimming because there was no way I was going to get through a night of squinting at 7-point type.

    Also, you mention online gaming. People are going to fuck off at work; it's inevitable. But the people who have patterns of missing the same things over and over seem to get a free pass too often, and that's just wrong.
  2. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

  3. Stupid

    Stupid Member

    That probably explains why, when we have a typo, it fairly leaps off the page of the paper as opposed to hiding from one's eyes on a proof.
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Which, I guess, brings us back to another point: how do you solve this problem? How do you make it a higher priority? I think Dye's right -- it is widespread. But shot's right too -- if you've got three people on the desk, all of whom have 2-3 pages left at 10 p.m., reading their own stories, proofing their own pages, because everyone else is still working on *their* pages ... what's a realistic solution?

    The last two papers I've been at, we've tried to implement a "cheat sheet" for proofing sports pages. Check off each box as you check the page for the following (check for hed mispellings first, check for hed factual errors, check for cutline mispellings, check the date/page number on the folio, etc.) ... That's all fine and well for metro and lifestyles, but it's not very realistic if you want to make deadline, esp. in sports (with so much late copy coming in.) So the cheat sheets just don't last very long.

    Getting more sets of eyes on each page is also a viable solution -- but obviously, that's not completely under our control. If you're understaffed, you're understaffed. You deal with it, you get the paper out, and you do the best you can.

    Pushing deadlines back will never happen is another possibility. Also, it'll never happen.


    If it's just a mentality thing -- that deskies don't care much about copy-editing -- well, perhaps we just have to start from the beginning. With each new hire, make that a point of emphasis when they come in. Start phasing out the established deskies who won't change their ways. Reward the deskies who will. It's got to be a culture change, and the only way you can do that is by ... well ... changing it.

    Crack the whip, and it doesn't matter who does it. The boss doesn't have to do it -- you can do it yourself. (People will get defensive, no doubt about that. Most people are resistant to change. But you can't worry about that.) You just gotta keep it a priority, keep demanding better results from yourself and from everyone on desk. Don't let things slip, no matter how shorthanded you are or what the situation is. Mistakes will get through -- they'll always get through -- but they'll be fewer and farther between, and they won't be nearly as costly (for the most part). Demand excellence, expect it, and you just might get it.
  5. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I understand sports wanting control over its pages, but, shit, us news copy editors don't bite. I'd be more than glad to glance over a page.

    Of course, I'm a semi-abnormality, a guy who moved from sports writing to news copy editing. Still, we'd be more than willing to help, if asked.
  6. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Our news copy editors are normally gone almost an hour before our deadlines. They're more than willing to help. In fact several of them are ex-sports folks, but they're just not there when our pages are wrapping up.

    It's just almost like a perfect storm. We've been discussing going to a universal desk, but I just don't know if that'll help solve the problem.

    And you're not abnormal. I went from sports writing to news copy editing and then back to sports copy editing. It happens.
  7. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    How about when dumb fuck photogs don't know how to ID the people in their photos?

    I cover a golf tournament, tell the photog who is worth shooting. She comes back with a photo. There are three people in the group. THREE PEOPLE. And she manages to mis-identify the fucking golfer. So we have this big-ass photo on the page today with the photo identifying this player as the two-time champion of the tournament, when in fact it is one of his playing partners.

    I was irate when I saw it. Fucking irate. Ruins the entire story and makes me look bad. I never saw a copy of the photo because I wasn't in the office late enough to see it put on the page.

    Photogs ... you're photo-JOURNALISTS. Try getting the information right every once in a while. :mad:
  8. Derek_W

    Derek_W Guest

    This has happened to me as well. Wrote up a state tournament basketball gamer one time, and the photographer misidentified a player in the photo. The next day we get an email from someone who thinks I was responsible for the mistake, even though I'm not the photographer and the photo credit of the photographer is listed under the picture. At least the guy was nice about it though, and my editor replied explaining I wasn't the one at fault.

    Still, I don't understand why people think mistakes in cutlines, etc. are the fault of the writer who writes the story.
  9. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Same reason they think the writer is responsible for the headline on his story. They're clueless about what we do.
  10. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    Another problem is that as soon as a copy editor distinguishes himself/herself, particularly on an understaffed desk, that person is generally rewarded by getting more work -- more stories, more proofs, more stuff getting routed to that person. As that person gets more work, his or her work suffers overall. It's the curse of competence.
  11. Desk_dude

    Desk_dude Member

    This is so true. That person also gets the tougher stories. And has more "corrections" put into their personal file.
  12. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    And makes sure their deskmates know about it. You forgot that part. ;)
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