Editing commentary

A stopper

December 9, 2003
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A Newsday column lamenting “floating celebrities” — people famous for being famous — emits the following: In this, Hilton is one of a laundry list of not-so-illustrious examples. Kato Kaelin and Jessica Hahn, Monica Lewinsky and Joey Buttafuoco, Darva Conger and “Bachelorette” Trista Rehn – it’s a short-lived conga line of names who captured...

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Perhaps the worst column ever written…

December 8, 2003
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… in which a 40something white guy tries to talk like a rapper, making fools of himself, his paper, his editors and the people who brought him into this world. Heads up to the Testy Copy Editors for flagging this atrocity. See, da brotha had some phat new school playaz lined up. Cris was...

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How did editors become the enemy?

December 8, 2003
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Daniel Okrent, the new New York Times watchdog: My copy will not be edited, except for grammar, spelling, and the like. I’ve seen the Times’ copy editing test. You have to be really, really good to ace it. Then you have to suffer through a weeklong tryout, then maybe you’ll get hired, and for...

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I got yer instant art, pal

December 8, 2003
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Maud Newton links to story about “crap art,” which is described as follows. Carnegie Mellon University graduate student Tom Murphy challenges musicians to write, record and mix an entire album in one 24-hour period “preferably with no sleep breaks in-between.” Murphy founded Crap Art project and is busy perfecting the movement’s manifesto. But why...

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You’ll know it’s a just world

December 5, 2003
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When Michael Wolff has to write headlines for a living. So far his latest book is a flop: But Wolff’s often-funny and biting look at the media has run up disappointing sales, showing readers may be less curious about the media than many in the media would like to think. According to Nielsen Bookscan,...

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‘It’s the least wonderful time of the year’

November 28, 2003
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…. to be working on the copy desk, that is. Why? Huge papers with no added staffing. Vacations, which make already calamitous understaffing even worse. The occasional sick day taken by a co-worker who gets ill due to the bad weather here, or who selfishly decides to take one “because it’s there.” And bosses,...

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Reporters say the darnedest things

November 24, 2003
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The Testy Copy Editors reveal some of the most memorable malapropisms. Reporter does a story about a nature preserve and makes note of a magnificent blue herring spreading its majestic wings and flying off. I say a little prayer of thanks when I see stuff like this, because it means I’ll always have a...

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Killing the maestro

November 18, 2003
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Another fine Testy Copy Editors thread, this one about a newsroom cleanup that uncovers a booklet about one of those “maestro” gurus from the mid-’90s, which includes swell advice like this: -To begin setting up a Display Desk, first take a copy desk and absolve it of responsibility for editing copy. Because, you know,...

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BONG-alicious

November 17, 2003
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The latest BONG Bull is a mega hoot. A highlight: IN NEWSROOM ETERNAL: A reporter dies and goes to journalist heaven, where St. Peter issues him a harp and a set of moderate-sized wings. “These seem kind of small,” the reporter complains. “Well,” says St. Peter, “Wing size here is determined by how much...

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Damn those subheads

November 6, 2003
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We put ‘em in there to break up long columns of gray type, but at least one writer is sick them gunking up his copy. (Link via Romenesko)

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