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Who needs copy editors?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by UNIDude, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. UNIDude

    UNIDude New Member

    Two more examples of why copy editors remain important, no matter what journalism's number-crunchers believe: This week's SI had two gaffes in its NFL midseason report. In the gatefold, in the Steve Smith blurb, it reads "...Smith is on pace for 1,836 receiving yards for a team that had one of the worst offensives in football a year ago." Granted, not that big a mistake, but it becomes more so when you turn a few pages and under "Revenge of the Sack Kings" it mentions Jared Allen, and just below that, in the chart, it says "Jason Allen," who happens to be a Texans DB. I hate to trot out the old "journalism isn't what it used to be," but when it comes to catching silly mistakes like this, the cliche certainly rings true.
  2. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Copy editors can also help break up hopelessly dense paragraphs.
  3. I'll never tell

    I'll never tell Active Member

  4. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I could see starting a publication with almost no copy editing, although I have not yet decided how I could stop myself from tweaking. I suppose here is how I'd do it. We hand you a list of stuff we consider minor and a list of things we consider major. Base pay is $100,000. Too many major mistakes and we cut pay to $90K so we can buy a copy editor. If that doesn't work, it's down to $70K to hire two more copy editors. In my experience, some mistakes are hurried, some are writers not being held accountable for time-consuming glitches that are avoidable if the writer communicated with managers about direction, tone and red flags; studied the stylebook; and read their own freaking newspaper to see how we format stuff and in what order. As a team you can blow it off, but you'll earn 30 percent less. Peer pressure would eliminate the need for me to hire an enforcer.
  5. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Your numbers seem a bit off, but I don't mind the basic premise here for a start-up. At places such as Grantland, where the errors are far more substantial and commonplace than they are at Sports Illustrated, enough funding should exist to hire a few copy editors who work full-time and do thorough jobs.

    As far as Sports Illustrated's errors this week ... I wouldn't know. I haven't received my copy in the mail yet. I look forward to reading it Monday, as they send to press the next edition.
  6. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    Even at a place where copy isn't black or white (think of it as, say, Gray), reporters' errors of substance, tone and style are substantial. And our readers don't, and wouldn't, put up with any manner of mistakes. Yet we still miss things, every night. It's humbling, but the answer is not for writers to self-produce their content.
  7. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    So the writer gets $70K and each copy editor gets $10K? Lovely. Be still, my heart.
  8. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    My guess is he was thinking that he has several writers and docking each one $10k would help him afford a copy editor or two.
  9. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    I wonder how many newspapers will have references to victims and abuse and rape -- minus the word "alleged" -- in a certain story that's growing by the day. Until there's a conviction, we still use that word, right?
  10. Magic In The Night

    Magic In The Night Active Member

    If you really believe this, you don't see a lot of unedited copy. I took something out of a story this weekend where a prep writer said the So and So High School "shot its wad" in the first round of the state high school playoffs.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Sounds very likely, though.
  12. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I was just coming to post this.

    Cynics would note that they sum up the BCS very succinctly.

    Somebody messing around. You'd think that the last person to do this would teach everybody else after, but every few months, we get one of these.
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