Copy editing

National Journal copy editor not a millionaire

Tonia Moore is not a millionaire. The National Journal copy editor incorrectly answered a question about the origin of Universal Studios’ name on an episode of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” broadcast Friday, ending a run that began with a show broadcast the day before.

In a phone interview, Moore said the taping — originally scheduled for Oct. 31 in New York — was rescheduled for early November after Hurricane Sandy hit. Moore took a week off work to be in New York for the taping. “I know the timing’s awful” given the election, she said she told her boss, who “stressed (repeatedly) that I had to be at work on Nov. 6 no matter what,” she wrote in an email. Read more

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National Journal copy editor is on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’

National Journal copy editor Tonia Moore wants to be a millionaire. Well, OK, she’s on the show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” this week, which is the same thing, right?

Moore, who a show bio says is “such a movie fan that she took three days off from work to see ‘The Avengers’ premiere,” didn’t finish her round of questions Thursday so she’ll appear Friday as well. Moore finished Thursday with an accumulated bank of $18,100 and correctly answered the question “The 2012 film “The Expendables 2” features the lead actors from all but which of the following classic action movies?” (Answer: D, “Braveheart.”)

Courtesy Disney-ABC

Last spring Dan Adkison, a deputy copy chief at Time magazine, rolled over opponents on “Jeopardy!” before getting derailed by a question about the American Revolution. Read more

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Jewish Daily Forward copy editor Louis Katz retired this month after 50 years at the paper. Paul Berger writes about his career:

According to union rules, members of the typographical union were the last people to make changes to copy before it was printed. And so it was, several years after Mr. Katz started working at the Forward, that he began his relationship with [Isaac Bashevis] Singer, one of the newspaper’s most famous writers.

One day, in 1964 or ’65 — Mr. Katz does not quite remember when — the typesetter who usually set Singer’s work went on vacation, so the foreman asked Mr. Katz to step in. Mr. Katz noticed a stylistic error and corrected it. “Maybe if I had known at that time that [Singer would become] a Nobel Prize winner… I wouldn’t have the guts to do that,” Mr. Katz said.

Singer wanted to know who had corrected his copy, so the foreman brought him to Mr. Katz.

Fun vanen shtamstu?” — Where are you from? — Singer asked Mr. Katz, who replied that he was from Warsaw, Poland.

“From now on, you gonna be my typesetter,” Mr. Katz said Singer told him.

Mr. Katz went on to set — and correct — Singer’s copy for the next decade. He said that he did not correct for spelling errors, only “stylistics.”

Mr. Katz and I.B. Singer from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

Paul Berger, The Forward

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Copy editors ‘have been sacrificed more than any other newsroom category’

King’s Journalism Review
The decline of newspapers has fallen especially hard on copy editors, Natascia Lypny writes.

Copy editors have been sacrificed more than any other newsroom category. Nearly a third of the copy editors who were working for American daily newspapers in 2007 are no longer employed in those positions today, according to an American Society of News Editors’ survey of 985 publications.

The figures are actually worse if you go back another few years: ASNE’s annual survey of newsrooms, released last April, found 10,676 copy editors in 2002, 5,675 in 2012. I should have noted in the first iteration of this post that over that timespan, the copy editor category has also included layout editors and online producers, but taken as one, that’s a 46 percent decrease in a decade during which reporting positions fell 26 percent and supervisory positions fell 24 percent. Read more


AP Stylebook creates a Spanish version of the Stylebook to address changes in language

The Associated Press announced today that it has created a Spanish version of the Stylebook aimed at journalists in the U.S. and abroad. The idea came about after journalists from the AP’s Mexico City bureau realized they needed a Stylebook that addressed the complexities and evolution of the Spanish language.

“They understand the role that our English Stylebook plays for our English-speaking journalists and they’ve been advocating for years that we needed one for our Spanish-speaking journalists,” AP Stylebook Product Manager Colleen Newvine said by phone.

The Spanish Stylebook, or Manual de Estilo, started out as an internal tool in the Mexico City bureau but grew into something more after the AP realized there was an audience for it. The AP has gotten several requests for a Spanish Stylebook, Newvine said, and has been looking to expand its business in Latin America. Read more


Guardian copy editor (aka subeditor) Charlotte Baxter details the evolution of her job, and what it was like when she first started:

I was taught to subedit by a wonderful bunch of male, middle-aged reprobates who worked on the news pages of a national newspaper, one of whom helpfully advised me that nobody liked subs. They certainly had their idiosyncrasies. Turning up to work I’d often find one lying on the floor attempting something almost but not quite entirely unlike yoga, a slight whiff of whisky in the air.

The Guardian


Prepare yourself for robot editors

BBC News
Worrying about robot writers is so three months ago; the next threat to journalists’ paychecks is robot editors. Wikipedia couldn’t exist without them, BBC News’ Daniel Nasaw reports. ClueBot NG prowls the massive site looking for vandalism, like a line about the human penis in an article about courts. “It is one of several hundred bots patrolling Wikipedia at any given time,” Nasaw writes.

“Wikipedia would be a shambles without bots,” a Wikipedia administrator known on the site as Hersfold writes in an email. …

They delete vandalism and foul language, organise and catalogue entries, and handle the reams of behind-the-scenes work that keep the encyclopaedia running smoothly and efficiently and keep its appearance neat and uniform in style.

Nasaw tells us not to worry, quoting programmer Brad Jorsch: “It takes human judgement to write an article or proof an article or even clean up grammar and spelling.”

But robots already write lots of articles, and you can purchase a plugin for Word that checks your work against the AP StylebookRead more


Only in ‘Amercia’: Romney app needs copy editing

Charles Apple | Washington Post
Perhaps some of the copy editors losing their newspaper jobs could find new employment with the presidential campaigns. The Romney campaign released a “With Mitt” iPhone app Tuesday that lets users “customize photos with a variety of Mitt-inspired artistic frames, add personalized messages, and then share with your friends.” One of the 14 superimposed photo messages calls for “A Better Amercia.”

Romney app misspelling
What the view from my balcony looks like in “A Better Amercia.”

The Washington Post reports the Romney campaign has submitted a corrected app to Apple for approval. Apple says it usually completes its app review process within five business days, so we may see Amercia-stamped photos floating around for a few more days.

Earlier: Downward “sprial” for Denver Post copy editing? Read more


Easiest crossword ever published in National Post

A day after its owner Postmedia announced layoffs that will target copy editors and cuts that will see some print editions reduced, Canada’s National Post today published a crossword that provides a reminder of the value of copy editing.

Canadian journalist Maryam Siddiqi tweeted a picture of today’s Post crossword, which really isn’t much of a challenge at all (click for larger):

What good is a solved crossword?

As she wrote:

At least one Post reader was not impressed, according to a tweet from the paper’s social media editor:

Read more

Journalist asks: Why do we need editors?

Why do we need editors?

It’s a provocative question to pose publicly if you’re a journalist, and that’s exactly what GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram did today on Twitter:

He sparked an interesting discussion about the value of editing, how errors spread, and the ability of journalists to offer adequate correction. It’s a timely discussion, given the recent announcement that the Denver Post is eliminating its copy desk, and what that means for the business. Here are some of the highlights of the conversation.

[View the story "Do we need editors? Mathew Ingram asks, and plenty of folks weigh in" on Storify] Read more

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