Q. I’m a young copy editor on a desk with experienced hands and sometimes I don’t know how to behave. Do you have any tips? — Anonymous in L.A.
A. Sure. We’re overdue for a review of copy-desk etiquette anyhow:
* Don’t complain to the slot about a headline change unless the change makes it wrong.
* While you’re at it, don’t complain, period.
* Don’t make a major production about errors you find in copy or on proof. Just fix them.
* Don’t interrupt a colleague’s discussion, unless it concerns a story assigned to you.
* Don’t assume you have the standing to begin open debate with a colleague. Keep your challenges to private messages.
* Although mindless chatter has a long copy-desk tradition, learn to control it. When in doubt, STFU.
* Remember that respect is earned.
* Another clich?: Don’t miss the forest for the goddamn trees.
Gee, I’m guilty of every one of these things, almost every day. Be glad you don’t sit next to me.