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Why doesn't my SE know how to write?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by sirvaliantbrown, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. He consistently makes grammatically incorrect changes to my copy.

    I'm not talking "messing with my style," though he does that too...I'm talking incorrect grammar.

    It is frustrating.

    Mini-rant complete. Thank you all for listening.
  2. JME

    JME Member

    There are few things more maddening than that.
  3. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Because newspapers suck at hiring.

    Be sure to make printouts of your originals. You'll need them in place of clips by the sound of things.
  4. I actually had this problem at my campus paper as well. (Which makes me sound like a whiner, but you'll just have to take my word for things.) At the time, I asked a Gannett hiring dude if it would be a bad idea to submit originals. He said published clips were the only way to go. I had only written about twelve stories total when internship application time rolled around, so I had to submit two clips with obvious errors.

    Somehow, I still got a gig. Which probably means that newspapers suck at hiring, because I wouldn't have hired me with those there.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    It sucks, but it's the reality of newspapers hiring writers and editors who don't really know how to write and edit.

    I went through the same thing with one of my clips. I had a great article about a breaking event, but someone had edited something moronic into the story. It wasn't a factual error, but it would be obvious to anyone with a clue.

    I didn't use the story as a clip, but I did try to enter it in a contest. No reward.
  6. Some clever photoshop could help de-edit those clips...

    Same thing happened to me when the desk turned a Hall of Fame lefty into a righty, making me look like a complete fucktard. If I use that clip I plan to submit a corrected version.
  7. greenthumb

    greenthumb Member

    Your editor should be ashamed of himself. The No. 1 rule I've always tried to observe is 'first, do no harm' — even on tight deadline, when sometimes even the best intentions go awry.

    That said, I don't think your situation is as common as some of the responses here might lead you to believe. A good editor will save you from a mistake 99 times out of 100, and should never insert a serious error. I personally do not make a factual change in a story without first talking to the writer. Grammar and spelling, sure, provided the context is clear. Plus, I try to encourage writers to CQ anything correct but unusual.

    Maybe I'm just lucky. I've worked for good editors and was trained by good editors.
  8. You are lucky.

    As for me: he's never made any incorrect factual changes. Grammar is the problem. Representative sample:

    My copy:
    "The Flyers have had trouble putting the puck in the net. In four games, they have only four goals."

    Edited copy:
    "The Flyers have had trouble putting the puck in the net as it has four goals through four games."

    Annnnd there goes a clip.

    Finally, greenthumb: I can't even really get mad at the guy. He means well; he's just not good.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Ugh. When I'm editing, my first goal is to make sentences longer. ::)
  10. Riddick

    Riddick Active Member

    Here's the thing. Most people know I hate when people screw with my copy. That being said, I never expect them to help me out with it cause normally they'll botch it.I prefer to blame myself than some hack without talent.
    As for bad sports editors, a buddy of mine gave me the best advice. "Manage your manager."
    It's difficult to do, but an art that can last you a lifetime in this business.
  11. SEWnSO

    SEWnSO Member

    So he/she is not a writer's SE. What does he do well?
    Some are writers, some are layout dude/dudette's, some are management types. We all have our strength's.
    Seems like the "aw shits" always outweigh the "atta boys"
    I know an SE who is the greatest editor in the world, but the dude's all thumbs when it comes to layout. What does he get dinged on... Layout!
    And, I am with Dyepack, keep those originals.
  12. Probably because he was a reporter before he was an editor.
    I am in agreement with dyepack -- Hockey in hell! -- but I'd take his argument one step further. One reason why newspapers suck at hiring is that they do things like make a good reporter into an editor, as a kind of "promotion," as though writing and editing are the same skill set, which they aren't. The best editor I have currently can't write his name, but I can't do what he does any more than I can fly the space shuttle. Why newspapers can't nurture gifted young editors the way they do young writers is a mystery to me.
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