The end of the red pen? (HLD 186)

24 Sept 2020

When did editing go out of fashion?

Forgive me if I start to sound like a grumpy old person, but maybe I just am. Deal with it.

Typo’s on blogs on Facebook I can deal with (I do try to find them and correct them, if my in-house correction agent – he goes by the name of Simon – doesn’t point them out to me first), but in things you pay good money for, I have a little bit of an issue.

When I normally see errors, think “good grief – who proof-read that???” to myself, and move on. I have allowed a little leeway in my mind for online news articles, as obviously the imperative is to get the news out as fast as possible.

But – like there really should be someone proof-reading anything the US President puts out online – there should also be someone casting their eyes over things that journalists produce. Today, reading an article in an online newspaper, I read about a politician talking about when restrictions will be eased, etc, and stated that “it is not a day when we essentially through the doors open,” he said. It is just one of many times I’ve seen this sort of error.

I never used to see quite so many errors in printed information like newspapers. In my mind the editors of these things have many staff at their disposal who spend hours pouring over everything that will go to print, but maybe not. I have even on a few occasions found an entire article repeated later on in the paper!

There often appears to be a smarmy little (sic) comment in the paper, when the journalist likes to point out that someone else made a spelling or grammar error in something they produced that the journalist is subsequently reporting on. I’ve always thought this (sic) comment seems a little condescending, a way of letting you know that it wasn’t THEM who made the error.

But how do we return the comment when it IS them who make the error?

Over the years I have worked with people who really, really seem to enjoy editing. I’ve had times when an apostrophe has moved multiple times before a document goes to print, for example. And working in an office I’ve had occasion to receive back a document covered in red pen marks signifying things the editor wanted to be changed. As the typist my response was always rolled eyebrows on spotting those red marks. Before diligently moving apostrophes and so on.

But maybe I’m at the age where I need to make some red marks on the newspaper, scan it in and email it back to them. I imagine the title for my email would be SIC.

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