Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1033 Copy Edditers Is Unnesusary

1033 Copy Edditers Is Unnesusary

News Item:  The Denver Post newspaper is firing copy editors and from now on, reporters will edit each others’ work.

Yeah, save a few bucks.  And put reporter A’s work into the hands of reporter B.  The two hate each other and haven’t exchanged a word in 20 years.  But no matter.  It’ll work out just fine.  

That A and B were so busy fighting all these years that they never bothered to check a fact.  Let the copy desk take care of that.  “Hey, anyone know if there’s a 41st block on Colfax Avenue?”

Copy editors write the headlines.  Or used to.  
Can’t wait to see what results.

What the hell.  The system works for Wessays™ so why not the Denver Post? Write the stuff and filter it through Word’s spelling and grammar check.  Break the rules you normally break (“Fragment. Consider revising.”) Publish and then let the readers tell you where you screwed up.

Everyone needs an editor.  When it’s reporters editing each other, it’s the blind leading the blind.  Copy editors care about copy editing.  Reporters who edit each other will find some who care and can do and some who don’t care or can’t do.  And since everyone at every paper is doing double duty as it is, the new work is going to suffer.  Fatigue and resentment. And readers will learn to trust the Post as they trust the internet: not at all.

The other day, Yahoo News put up a three or four year old story and nobody seemed to notice.  Google News aggregates stories by machine.  The machine doesn’t read copy.  In reprinting stories, Google and other aggregators count on someone having proofed and fact-checked what it sends out.  Now, some of those someones will be doing that off a corner of the desk and you won’t know what you’re reading.  Brilliant.

Shrapnel (EU Edition):

--The Greeks sent a warning to the EU when they embraced the tough terms of the bailout.  A relatively small country with a relatively weak economy still has the power to topple the Euro and its house-of-cards superstructure.  Stick around, because someone’s going to do it and should.

--Write this down on a post-it note and stick it on your mirror:  Austerity does not mean recovery.  Make a second copy and attach it to your sample ballot around election time.

--The EU put its headquarters in Belgium for the same reason Vito Corleone named his company after an accomplice rather than himself.  Had they put it where it belongs, Frankfurt, the rest of the world would realize that the “union” is just the Germans going after lebensraum.  It didn’t work the first or second time.  And it won’t work this time.

MULTIPLE CHOICE READING TEST:

There are _____________ un-supported alleged facts and/or typos in this post:

[a] 23 [b] 4 [c] another number [d] I don’t know.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2012

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