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.
After last night’s display of cowardice and its accompanying showcase of RTÉ’s lack of editorial independence, I am boycotting the station’s news broadcasts and even its website. It has no credibility anymore. Follow the debate on Twitter, hashtag #picturegate (see the Twitter feed on the left of this website).
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.
I’m quite lukewarm. There are far fewer links to stories, and the general division by region is gone, collected under a drop-down menu at the top. The background is similar to the colour of the print edition, but it’s a mistake to use grey text: it almost blends in to the background and is difficult to read. It needs a lot of work.
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.
Because science is awesome we can now clone formerly extinct animals.
Because science is dumb a HIV vaccine actually increased the risk of infection.
I think Dilbert has given us a way out of taking responsibility for the economic crisis.
Jeff Jarvis on a future for news media:
I proposed a problem to solve: What if a city, say Philadelphia, loses its paper tomorrow. What would you build in its place to serve the community? The [working] group went to town. Rather than trying to hack at the old, they build something new.
They calculated the likely revenue Philadelphia could support online and then figured out what they could afford in staffing. Instead of the 200-300-person newsroom that has existed in print, they decided they could afford 35 and they broke that down to include a new job description: “community managers who do outreach, mediation, social media evangelism.” They settled on three of those plus 20 content creators, two programmers, three designers, five producers (I think they were a bit heavy on those two), and — get this — only three editors.
I’m glad I don’t have money saved with Bank of Ireland.
Flickr’s three billionth photo.
No duh headline on a very important story: How HIV changed ex-addict’s life.
At least according to this Xinhua headline: Kenya’s Nobel laureate lauds ex-Ireland leader. The Nobel peace prize had been awarded to the former president of Finland for his efforts from Europe to the Middle East to Asia.
But hey, what’s the difference between nations? I speak with the experience of a man who was once asked, during the immigration procedure, if he should be listed as coming from Iceland. “Iceland is same as Ireland, yes?”
Jeebus save us. Debrett’s, the voice of etiquette, has brought its weight to bear on Facebook and MySpace. The advice is usable, if a bit stuffy (the below is copied from Reuters):
1. You don’t have to make friends with people you don’t know. Think before you poke.
2. Wait 24 hours before accepting or removing someone as a friend. The delay will help you gather your thoughts.
3. Birthdays, engagements and weddings are not “virtual” events. Always send cards or phone friends when there is an important event.
4. Think before posting a friend’s photo what you would feel like if it was you.
5. Think carefully about your profile picture. Would you want it to be appearing in your local newspaper?
Breakingnews.ie has had a makeover. It’s quite nice and even includes video and audio now, unlike the abomination that it used to be. I’m not too gone on the huge amount of white space at the top though. It looks a bit of a waste.