Editing commentary

Life outside the desk

November 5, 2003
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Another great Testy Copy Editors’ thread, this one about whether it’s rational to expect to have a social life when you work nights covering the news. Here’s a nod to Wayne Countryman of the Baltimore Sun, who always seems to sum these things up better than the rest of us: Aside from fulfilling an...

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No, no, no, no, no

November 5, 2003
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Steve Earle used to shoot drugs. Now he mainlines the latest news. There’s gonna be times when a writer has to be talked out of being clever, like when likening news addiction to heroin addiction. The former is an affectation, the latter destroys lives … you can’t draw this comparison without seeming incredibly insensitive...

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Give your copy editor a hug

November 5, 2003
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I’ve become so accustomed to the “tips for newsies” links on the Poynter site linking to absurd advice that I completely missed “10 things to know and love about copy editors,” which has been up since late last week. See, they thought it would be cute to say “10 things” in the headline but...

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‘Q&As are more stenography than journalism’

October 29, 2003
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Blanp and company muse on the question-and-answer format, which seems to be infecting a lot more of our pages these days.

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How many times…

October 29, 2003
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… should we read a piece of copy? Clay says, as many as time allows, but at least twice.

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Clumsy writing …

October 27, 2003
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… makes us look like we’ve got an agenda. To wit: The bombings occurred just hours after three other American soldiers were killed in overnight attacks in and around the capital, bringing to 112 the total number of U.S. military personnel killed in hostile acts since President Bush declared an end to major combat...

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On the langauge getting away from us

October 23, 2003
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Another Testy Copy Editors thread becomes a debate over putting profanity in the paper. The fact that it’s happening so often these days suggests we’re nearing a critical mass on the issue of printing “family” newspapers. When the family’s everyday language begins to contain “sucks,” “piss,” “shit” and “fuck,” how long can we hold...

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On making an Ass of U and Me

October 23, 2003
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Clay on always testing your assumptions. He points up the obvious — never assume “they’d never be that stupid” — and adds a subtle hint. A couple of bonus points here: Study the results of your spell check. It contains wonders. Yes, it might flag all the names as being misspelled. But that could...

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ABC News issues instructions …

October 16, 2003
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… on fairness in news coverage. Though it’s heresy to admit that TV newsies have anything to offer us, the tips (from the STUMP blog) are useful. A couple zingers: 2. Note when there is good economic news (since we act like we are in the Great Depression everytime a Subway closes). 3. Hold...

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On posting unedited copy on the Web

October 10, 2003
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The Testy Copy Editors had a lively debate over it.

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