Why copy editors matter

I write this as the Typo King of MinnPost.

It’s a cautionary tale as the Strib looks to buy out “up to five” folks on the copy desk.

Still, while others note, “I guess this is what happens when you cut staff to the bone,” fairness compels me to say such snafus are not exclusive to the current era.

[Update: I’m told by reliable sources that this was a computer glitch; there had been a slightly more on-point subhed that got eaten when the file was sent. In other words, blame technology, not staffing. But copy editors still matter!]

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Beth Wright on 12/18/2008 - 02:57 pm.

    Speaking as a professional copy editor, yes, they certainly do matter! So do proofreaders. I’d guess that the error you’re pointing to should have been caught at the proofreading stage, after layout. A copy editor wouldn’t necessarily see headlines and subheads like that one. Either way, someone didn’t do a last, important check on that page before it went to the printer.

  2. Submitted by fred webber on 12/19/2008 - 01:23 pm.

    Every day I find errors in the Strib — human errors, not “computer glitches.” In addition to accuracy, it’s critically important that news media deliver information that isn’t ambiguous or difficult to understand. Errors cause confusion and diminish a news medium’s credibility. The Strib needs all the credibility it can get.

  3. Submitted by David Erickson on 12/19/2008 - 02:08 pm.

    God save the copy editors! Here’s another example from May: http://www.flickr.com/photos/daviderickson/2524403072/

    What drive me crazy is copy that, when examined objectively, has no logic. It’s like listening to Brad Childress.

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