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(Jim Romenesko)   Newspaper which fired copy editors discovers that it needs copy editors, asks for volunteers   ( divider line
    More: Obvious, Commonly Misspelled Words, St. Augustine Record  
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1728 clicks; posted to Business » on 03 Apr 2014 at 4:30 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-04-03 09:22:15 PM  
3 votes:

Fark you, stupid bastards!

As a lead technical writer, I just went through this a year ago. Before that time, I led a team of more than a dozen writers and editors. A year ago, that entire team, to a person, was terminated. We went from 14 to 2 people - my manager and my self. My manager, the only other person in the company that understood content engineering, was fired just a few weeks ago. I was expected to be the writer, editor, and publisher for a software development company that didn't understand, and still does not understand, that customers can't use their software if they don't tell customers how it works. We went from a writer-driven model to a contributor-driven model, with "contributors" barely able to write sixth-grade English, never mind actually worry about things like technical accuracy, content design, or content presentation issues. That company dismantled a working single-source, multiple-delivery structured content team the likes of which were the envy of other companies (my manager presented, more than once, how we accomplished what we did at conferences, and served as a subject matter expert for implementing enterprise content engineering on a budget.)

It's almost as if there's this weird push to devalue the written word in the digital world. I find that odd.
2014-04-03 05:34:36 PM  
2 votes:
If you want something done well, pay a professional to do it. If you want something half-assed and botched, ask for volunteers.
2014-04-03 01:55:24 PM  
2 votes:
Ask a colleague to read your stuff before you post it. Or your spouse. Or your significant other. I can't tell you how many times my wife has caught typos in my stuff

I hate it when my wife catches typos in my stuff.

And "Zero Tolerance"?  Maybe you should hire a copy editor, you cheap short sighted bastard.
2014-04-05 01:34:30 AM  
1 vote:
As a former copy editor, I can assure anyone interested that it is one of the most thankless tasks in the world. Almost every writer takes personal offense to being corrected and acts like you're rewriting Shakespeare when you simply apply house style to their writing. Nobody likes being corrected, especially people who consider themselves "professional." I trust most Farkers have seen enough "professional" writing to know how bad some "pros" are, and trust me, the worst ones usually throw the biggest tantrums regardless of the rules of the publication.

Being a copy editor also essentially turns you into a professional nit-picker, and it starts affecting other parts of your life, and nothing ever seems quite as good as it should be. It becomes difficult to find satisfaction, especially when reading for leisure, but I found myself constantly annoyed by signs, menus, memos, etc.Sometimes I would proofread a menu instead of making a lunch selection. It was maddening and I am happy not to do it anymore.

And anyone who thinks copy editing is the same as finding typos doesn't know what they're talking about. That's proofreading, a different job. Computers can't copy-edit, but they can do a half-assed proofreading job. They won't catch misspelled words that by chance look like other real words -- for example, if I accidentally typed an "s" before "word" and had "sword" instead, I give you my sword a computer wouldn't find that error.

Anyone who would volunteer for such work by definition wouldn't know what they were doing, because if you know how to do it, you know it's a skill set that has value.
2014-04-03 07:28:45 PM  
1 vote:
Word finds my typos for free.
2014-04-03 05:42:17 PM  
1 vote:

macdaddy357: If you want something done well, pay a professional to do it. If you want something half-assed and botched, ask for volunteers.

For reference, see the Occupy movement
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