Testy Copy Editors

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 Post subject: The less things change, etc.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 4655
Location: New York City
Quote:
You’ve run spell-check and closely studied your story. Your editors have done the same and the copy desk — the last line of defense against mistakes — has scrutinized every word and line to ensure error-free copy.

And then the worst happens. You pick up the newspaper or open your online story. A mistake, perhaps several, jump out: misspellings, repeated words, missing ones, sources’ names spelled differently on second reference, any of several embarrassing screw-ups have made their way into publication.

You’re not alone.

Spell and grammar checkers are designed to flag misspellings, dangling modifiers, misshapen clauses and run-on sentences, but they’re far from infallible. Mistakes are easy to ignore on the page, but even more elusive on the screen where everything seems pixelly perfect.

There’s another, much more valuable, tool to cut down on creeping copy errors: Text-to-speech. TTS, which converts text into synthesized speech, adds another sense — hearing — that improves your chances of catching mistakes that your eyes miss. It’s a technological antidote to the mistakes that bedevil writers and editors, and make us look lazy, or worse, stupid. The feature is built into most computers’ operating systems. There are also third-party programs that provide the same function.
[Poynter, March 28, 2013]

Quote:
Up the dismal stairs to a dingy door in the third story, upon
which we read, "Editorial Rooms of the New York Tribune. H.
Greeley." We ought not to be allowed to enter, but we are, and
we do; no one hinders us, or even notices our entrance. First, a
narrow passage, with two small rooms on the left, whence, later in
the day, the rapid hum of proof-reading issues unceasingly, one man
reading the "copy" aloud, another having his eyes fixed upon the slip
of proof. One may insert his visage into the square aperture in the
doors of these minute apartments, and gaze upon the performance
with persistent impertinence ; but the proof-reading goes on, like a
machine. At this hour, however, these rooms contain no one.

["The Life of Horace Greeley," 1872]


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