Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Copy Editor? What Copy Editor?

The Death of English

“The language’s demise took few by surprise. Signs of its failing health had been evident for some time on the pages of America’s daily newspapers, the flexible yet linguistically authoritative forums through which the day-to-day state of the language has traditionally been measured. Beset by the need to cut costs, and influenced by decreased public attention to grammar, punctuation and syntax in an era of unedited blogs and abbreviated instant communication, newspaper publishers have been cutting back on the use of copy editing, sometimes eliminating it entirely.

“In the past year alone, as the language lay imperiled, the ironically clueless misspelling ‘pronounciation’ has been seen in the Boston Globe, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Deseret Morning News, Washington Jewish Week and the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times, where it appeared in a correction that apologized for a previous mispronunciation.

“On Aug. 6, the very first word of an article in the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal was ‘Alot,’ which the newspaper employed to estimate the number of Winston-Salemites who would be vacationing that month.

“The Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal has written of ‘spading and neutering.’ The Miami Herald reported on someone who ‘eeks out a living’ .... The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star described professional football as a ‘doggy dog world.’ The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune were the two most recent papers, out of dozens, to report on the treatment of ‘prostrate cancer.’”

—Gene Weingarten, columnist and nit-picker,
The Washington Post, Sept. 19, 2010 URL

Editor’s Note: Eek. I’m prostate on the floor

Today’s Wish-I-Were-Here Photo: Foggy Doggies


  1. GACK and ALACK. Not to mention the ubiquitous use of “impact” as a transitive verb. Factiz, the only things that can be “impacted” are wisdom teeth and feces. Be sure to tell your classes that. If you then have to explain to the dean, tell him or her to call me.

  2. And by all means, don't burn your britches - I can't access this article but the headline provokes thought - Joy

    Burning your britches behind you: Can policy scholars bank on game theory?
    Steven PostrelArticle first published online: 16 FEB 2007

    DOI: 10.1002/smj.4250121011

  3. Newspapers are already struggling... misspelling words is not helping their case. It's totally understandable that some papers are doing cut backs but honestly, headlines should not be misspelled. It's the biggest font on the newspaper, and I would think at least those mistakes could get caught.

    Romina Nedakovic

  4. Maybe they should just switch to selling humor instead! I personally don't mind errors, it gives people who catch them a chance to laugh.

    Like my husband's ex girlfriend says, "Don't count all your eggs in one basket."

    Erica Abbott

  5. The key differences between heavy and medium copyedits are the levels of judgment and rewriting involved.

    Copy editing services