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The lowly copy editor

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

  2. Biscayne

    Biscayne Guest

    Wow. What a douchebag perspective. Who's next -- nurses?
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    This sounds a lot like what I do now in the non-media world, except I get paid a heck of a lot more and work a heck of a lot less.

    Is it not reflective of the mood on copy desks in general? To the people I still communicate with in the biz, it sure sounds like that's about how they feel. Maybe my subset is just the especially angry and bitter folks at that end of the spectrum.
  4. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member


    And agreed.
  5. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Anybody who bitches about the mistakes in their paper - and your paper probably has a lot more of them then it used to, regardless of where you're reading this - IS valuing the copy editor. Unfortunately, most newspapers don't value them.
  6. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I won't bother trying to correct all his errors about what copy editors do, since mistakes don't matter in this online world. :p

    However, the way things USED to work, the copy desk was staffed by former news and sports reporters who were good writers, good at working with younger reporters on improving their copy, and now might have a family or some other outside-the-office situation that requires regular hours (even if those hours are 3-11 p.m.).

    And I'd like to think there's an art form to writing good heds ... words which are probably read more than any others in the print edition or the web site.
  7. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    I just want to work somewhere where the copy editor doesn't do EVERYTHING in that story. An editor pre-read the story? Someone else lay it out? Jesus. Must be nice.
  8. bpoindexter

    bpoindexter Member

    My nose was wrinkled at much of the column, but I agreed with this:

    "If he is unacknowledged within the newsroom and a relic online, it is because we as readers have evolved. We no longer sweat the small stuff of proper hyphenation and correct usage of semi-colons - it's the ideas and opinions that we're after. If a few words here and there are misspelled, so what?"

    Sad, true.
  9. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    When I read a story and I spot a word spelled incorrectly, I get annoyed. When I spot an incorrectly used semi-colon -- IF I spot an incorrectly used semi-colon -- I give it about 0.00001 seconds of thought before moving on. Punctuation is retarded.
  10. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Great point, IJAG.

    Today's copy desk (or "tonight" for some of us):
    1. First read on story
    2. Correct factual errors of story online, since it was posted before an editor read it (but keep the new version in the original online file ... wouldn't want to lose those anonymous comments!)
    3. Send out/process yourself reporter's photos for story (photographers? who are they?)
    4. write hed for story, place it on a page, complete layout of page
    5. print proof of page for a second read by another desker; read one of his/her pages
    6. Correct errors, send page to plateroom (which might be in another town)
    7. Repeat steps 1-6 until deadline.
    8. Set a bunch of reader submitted columns, AP "odds and ends," obits, etc. to appear on newspaper web site by 5 a.m.

    oh, and the all important final task:

    9. Bitch about steps 1-8 with coworkers, SportsJournalists.com, etc. :D
  11. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    For me, it all starts with spelling it semicolon. :)

    And while you're likely semi-kidding, I can give you a dozen examples off the top of my head where if the punctuation isn't right, the meaning of the sentence changes completely, or it's simply unreadable.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
  12. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Yeah. There are definitely times when correct punctuation is absolutely necessary. But I know of several instances, at least in my job now, where people make the biggest deal, for example, between using ":" and "--" in listing situations. They'll spend an hour arguing over that while a misspelled word sits without any attention.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2015
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