Monday, August 25, 2008

What He Said


My Post colleague Jeff Baron on what exactly it is that we do:
We all need editors. When we write, we might know what we mean to say, and we become blind to the looseness in our language and the gaps in our facts. Friends will ignore slips in e-mails, but newspaper readers should be able to expect a higher standard.
Keep reading.

3 comments:

skst said...

I'm afraid, as Mr. Baron concludes, that I've already noticed copy editors "by the mistakes [they] no longer keep out of print." I'm disappointed every day when I catch a misspelling or dropped word.

E.K. Hornbeck said...

The best part: "Copy editors might be the only people who can discuss, cheerfully and seriously and on their own time, when to hyphenate a compound adjective. Normal people, I have found, deeply do not care."

I find it morally offensive that people in the general public are not troubled by the missing punctuation in expressions such as invisible fence dealer.

In Charlotte, there is an old restaurant at the northern end of Dilworth Road close to uptown that has HOME MADE-BISCUITS printed in giant letters on the side of the building. That's not really progress, is it?

Stephen Jones said...

Puffery.

What Mr. Baron fails to mention is that the headlines, or even worse the short summary of the article many a copy editor writes is totally inappropriate and results in the author of the original piece being attacked for an invention of the copy editor.

He also fails to mention the abysmal knowledge of the English language many copy editors show, that Stet all means fuck all to them, that the writer is paid to write and the paper should either hire people capable of writing or give the writing jobs to those superior people, the copy editors.

I find it morally offensive that people in the general public are not troubled by the missing punctuation in expressions such as invisible fence dealer.

This is like complaining about zero tolerance approach or Junior High School Teacher. Where the meaning is clear the hyphens are optional. There are 430 Google hits for 'invisible fence dealer' and not one has a hyphen to it. Is massive moral offense covered by your health plan?