People notice bad editing, Part 2

SXC.hu image by cobrasoft

In Part 1, we took a look at some examples of bad, sloppy or nonexistent editing being noticed by readers and journalists. The disconnect of journalism and editing, caused by corporate decision-making and journalism’s slide into financial hardship, is showing itself. These are the smaller signs of the ridiculousness of “doing more with less” — the death-by-1,000-cuts progression that has real effects but gets little notice.

Here are some more examples of people noticing the lack of editing:

  • A newspaper gets it. That’s one, at least: The New Tribune in Washington state has noticed more errors amid a focus on the production of copy at the expense of the examination of copy. It’s a mea culpa, but one with teeth: The paper is reopening a copy-editing position. Truly surprising and heartening. Readers, reward this paper! (The (Tacoma) News Tribune)
  • Living the life. This writer notes the all-around (even holistic?) benefits brought by her experiences copy-editing, even while noting the challenges that other editors warn about. (The Canadian Journalism Project)
  • Rich liberals debate most-snobby punctuation mark after the semicolon: Arianna Huffington reprints her 2005 essay decrying The New York Times’ decision to codify an ignorance of grammatical conventions in the use of apostrophes. She’s got a point, but calling it a “crisis”? Meh. (The Huffington Post)
  • Even financial folks notice homophone misuse: It’s been fixed, but for a while, doctors could peak inside a baby’s brain. Which just sounds disturbing in so many ways. Credit to the financial folks, and these commenters, for not letting that, um, stand. (Wellington Financial Blog)
  • Love the team, hate the editing: Even if you love a book, you’ll be soured on it if it’s replete with errors. So goes this football book and its reviewer’s feeling toward it. Effort is good, but effort without trying to edit isn’t really full effort. (Residual Proximity)
  • Solving murders, not language-use distinctions: This book review is generally positive, but notes the haphazard copy editing. It’s another anecdotal account of the cutbacks the publishing industry has been making, made ironic by having a newspaper point it out. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Somebody’s gotta do it: This blog post starts off as a backhanded compliment but comes around to being a pragmatic conclusion for editors. The point about the editor-writer symbiotic relationship is one of which we should all be reminded. (Ooh, Shiny Book!)

¬†Editing isn’t just about bitching; noticing a lack of editing isn’t just about complaining or abandoning a publication. Both require reason, practicality and the making of an argument — the “why” that addresses the problem and advances a solution.