Editing commentary

Getting the “real” story

February 12, 2004
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CJR’s Campaign Desk, on the facts of President Bush’s National Guard service: Here’s the real story. In May of 1972, Bush moved from Texas to Alabama to work as campaign manager for Republican Winton “Red” Blount’s senate campaign. He requested a transfer from his unit, the 111th Interceptor Squadron, to a “postal unit” in...

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Why they call them Testy

February 10, 2004
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Somebody over at Testy Copy Editors asked what people thought of capitalizing “spring break.” My favorite response: Bu-Gal is being asked to treat spring break as if it’s fuckin’ Ramadan. I empower her to hurl a dictionary in protest. Blanp also got in a choice zinger on another topic: Jayson Blair has “decided to...

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Smart vs. dumb competition

January 29, 2004
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A reporter writes to Jay Rosen complaining about the pressures of of the campaign trail. Reporter thinks he doesn’t want to focus on the horse-race and does want to focus on what voters are talking about, what goes into their candidate preferences, etc. But the bosses back at the main newsroom put constant pressure...

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Oops

January 28, 2004
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From Sridhar Pappu’s latest column. While perhaps a reasoned, well-thought basis for a beat, The Times assigning a reporter to cover conservatives still feels strange, if not off-putting?a little like Judd Nelson peering through the bathroom window at Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Sorry, Mr. Pappu, that was Judge Reinhold. Update:...

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Where were the copy editors?

January 27, 2004
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Jack Shafer of Slate eviscerates the New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story on sex slaves in America. (More at the Radosh Blog). Without rehashing everything, suffice to say that every question Shafer and Radosh pose sound exactly like the questions I would’ve expected a copy editor to ask. There’s gonna be times when...

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Earth to Mr. Clifton:

January 23, 2004
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Nobody’s buying that “trust us, we’re unbiased” line anymore. For more on this, see everything Jay Rosen has written in the past few months.

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Cowardice, illustrated

January 15, 2004
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Columbia Journalism Review has a piece about a relatively obscure topic — illustrations for the op-ed page — that ends up a blistering critique of an industry scared shitless of its own readers and hostile to creativity. Read the whole thing and see if doesn’t paint a precise portrait of the newspaper you work...

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Memorize this

January 6, 2004
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From a Washington Post story last month about the guy who took on Apple when his Ipod’s battery died: Like a doctor with zero bedside manner, Ryan pretty quickly gets to the point: Since Neistat’s iPod is past the year-long warranty, the cost of parts, labor and shipping will nearly equal the cost of...

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‘Rock is dead they say’

January 2, 2004
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Or, well, rock criticism is. I’d suggest the real problem isn’t our obsession with celebrities, it’s our obsession with the notion that things were better in the good old days.

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Let’s dump ‘Jury’s Still Out’ stories

December 11, 2003
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Here we have Newsday reporting that it’s too soon to tell whether tabs targeting young readers are gaining any traction. See, if I were ambitious enough to work up a functioning lampoon of this kind of story, I’d post a Plymouth Colony dateline on a story reporting how the jury’s still out on this...

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