Thursday, May 31, 2007

Got Pix?

If you haven't joined Flickr, join Flickr. It's a place to store and organize digital photos, but it has become so much more. It's a research tool, a place to find and buy photos, and a way to peek in on the lives of your family members and friends -- and strangers. You can upload a pretty big bunch of photos per month free, or as many as you want for 25 bucks a year.

But enough free advertising. This entry is a call to community: I just started a Flickr group called The Copy Desk, where copy editors are invited to contribute pictures of themselves, their co-workers, their workplaces, their cats -- whatever. Take a look: There's not much there to start, but I hope that will change quickly.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Just a Production Issue

Asked about a Men's Fitness cover photo of tennis star Andy Roddick that didn't particularly appear to be portraying the physique of tennis star Andy Roddick, a company spokesman said that "we wouldn’t comment on any type of production issue" and added: "I don’t see what the big issue is here."

Hey, I've handled some production issues in my time, and I couldn't agree more. I mean, if you need to get next month's issue out now, you do what you have to do. If that means spending seven to nine weeks wrapping your reptilian brain around the niceties of Photoshop in order to put fake arms on a sports celebrity, so be it. I don't see how that could possibly harm the credibility of Men's Fitness, of magazines in general, or of all of journalism. You go, boys.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Silly Design Cliches

If you could read what's under this photo, you'd see this:

Real captions are so last year. It's much cooler to print what needs to be printed in tiny type along with the credit. That way we look artsy and screw the senior citizens. Two birds, one stone.

Monday, May 07, 2007

See Below

If you write headlines, you're bound to hear from readers, writers, your bosses and the assistant circulation director's second cousin from time to time about how a headline somehow lacked the "nuance" and "sophistication" of the story below it.

I take the criticism to heart when a headline fails to fit the facts or the tone of a story, but in general I try to retain my sanity by reminding myself, and the complainers, that 1,235 words will generally paint a more nuanced and sophisticated picture than, say, nine words. (Or, hell, 1,234.)

John McIntyre, assistant managing editor for copy desks at the Baltimore Sun, offers some words to live by:
A headline -- please keep this in mind -- is inherently elliptical and approximate. The text has the exact, detailed information. The headline is a suggestion that you should read the damn story.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Books, Books, Books

I've revamped my online bookstore, The Book Slot, to make things easier to use, less unsightly and more current. Check it out and buy a book or two. Visit the Off-Topic section and you might even buy a DVD or two.