Category Archives: Media – online/new

Fewer editors, more mistakes

Copy editors (AKA sub-editors) will sift through stories to ensure clarity, will check spellings to the best of their ability, and do their best to make headlines enticing. That’s our brief, although we do sometimes fall short. Even so, it’s good that some people recognise the important role that copy editors play in journalism, whether it be online or in print. Very few readers actually know what we do.

Copy editors are the unsung heroes of newsrooms. Unknown to the public, and often underappreciated by their colleagues, they’re the last line of defense against a correction or, worse, a libel suit.

They’re skeptics who revel in the arcane. They know the difference between median and mean, and can speak knowledgeably about topics from Methuselah to the Milky Way. They write headlines, design some pages, check facts and make sure assertions are supported. They spend entire careers working horrible night-shift hours.

This might sound like self-congratulatory waffle, but subs are losing jobs as quickly as reporters as newspapers seek to cut costs on production while maintaining a certain level of content. It’s also true that I’m an unemployed copy editor (although can you really be an “unemployed [insert job]”?) but that was by choice, even if I do miss the work, unsociable hours and all.

Meanwhile, my thesis is clipping along nicely and I have surpassed the 20,000 words needed for submission. Of course, now comes the editing and rewriting; the subbing, if you will.

Links o' the day 20/11/08

China’s output per head of population is smaller than Albania’s. Except China could probably buy swathes of the planet.

Wooly mammoth DNA decoded. Am I the only one who wants to see this species roam the Earth again?

A gallery of the greatest conspiracy theories.

Prices at Dubai’s Palm developments are down 40% to a paltry $2.7m.

Vive la France (in digital library terms at least).

It seems 21% of Americans can’t find the Pacific Ocean on a map. On the plus side, 94% can find the US.

The fakir who was buried alive for 40 days.

Links o' the day 10/11/2008

A German doctor has cured a HIV-positive patient with a bone marrow transplant.

Roald Dahl retold through surrealist photos.

Who says newspapers are dead? Turn your RSS feeds into a PDF paper.

Printers, scanners, fax machines, built-in optical drives and landline phones are junk sucking you down into hell and should be destroyed for the sake of your very soul. Or words to less than apocalyptic affect.

I know you didn’t think of this before: a weak sun may have brought down the Mayans as well as China’s Tang dynasty (Subscription required if you want to read the Science article linked to by the link).

Archaeologists shed new light on the witches of Cornwall.

A German lady has failed to set a record for carrying beer mugs. No puns on huge jugs, please.