Friday, August 08, 2008

Free From the Vulgar Desire for Public Recognition

"The 'make the copy desk do it' mind-set seems to be outliving the concept of actually having a copy desk." --Bill Walsh

A reporter bashes copy editors (called sub-editors in England) because an editor took "a" out of his article. That's right--one word. And by bashing I mean all sorts of foul language and ridiculous complaints. When all is bleak, I can just be happy I don't have to edit his work.

Editors respond:

If you could only see the state of some of the raw copy we have to knock into shape. It's badly structured, poorly spelt, appallingly punctuated, lazily researched. We're not saying your writing falls into that category ... Never having worked on your copy, we can only take your word for it that it is beyond improvement in its pre-published state. Strange as it may seem, many writers do not possess your grasp of language; indeed it is sometimes difficult to believe that English is their mother tongue, and they don't give a damn about what they produce because they know that a good, often highly educated sub-editor will correct it, check it and turn it into readable prose.

And with that, have a good Shabbos and a [insert your own appropriately positive adjective here] fast.


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