25 March 2009

I'm guessing all the copy editors were laid off?

Because how the fuck does a crap sentence like this get into the paper (or the online version of it, anyway) otherwise?

She said he little to say, "same as always," when he returned home from work at the airport hours after allegedly killing Olson and nonchalantly asked her to wash his jacket, saying he had spilled jet fuel on it.

I realize covering a trial is very deadline-sensitive. When I was working at the Daily, I often had a very tight turnaround on my stories. When you're covering an education committee meeting at the Capitol and the meeting ends after deadline, you're going to have to bang out a story in a half-hour, tops. It's probably much the same for Ms. Simons covering the Craigslist murder trial.

However, the extra five minutes it takes any one of the multitude of editors reading the story before it is published would be time well spent, I think. I hope to Christ it gets a good look before ending up in the print edition. As a matter of fact, why don't I go check? We get the print edition here at work.

AWESOME. It made it into the physical paper. Kudos, Strib. Kudos.

This shoddy reporting/writing/editing/copy editing is nothing new at the Strib. I included all of those options, because it is fairly impossible to know who is at fault. As a reporter, you can write a perfect story and then have some editor actually introduce an error along the way. Or maybe a copy editor writes a misleading headline, making the story into something it absolutely is not. Been there, done that. Let me tell you -- it's all kinds of fun.

Ultimately, it is the last person to read the story before giving it the okay, I suppose. But there could be fault at several stops along the way. There are so many more errors slipping through the cracks at the Strib these days. It makes me sad for the state of contemporary journalism (and makes me glad I decided to go into another thankless field). It also makes me sad because several of my former Daily colleagues work at the Strib. I know they're very good writers and really great at their jobs, but when stories get into the paper with errors, it makes them look bad.

There is a silver lining to this cloud, however. In visiting the website of the Minnesota Daily, I see that the headlining story is: Beer pong enthusiasts could be at risk for diseases. Excellent. It reminds me of my very first hard-hitting story for the Daily. It was about a bill put forward at the Legislature that would require kegs to be registered. Sure, I moved on to much bigger stories during my reporting career, but it's important to remember where I started.


Lily said...

Ouch. Yeah.

Anonymous said...

When I worked at the Pioneer Press they did a big round of layoffs/buyouts, and they lost a lot of copy editors. I think they're seen as more disposable, maybe. And then you have fewer people looking at more stuff and then there is madness.

Also, agreed. Journalism is saddening now. In terms of circulation figures, closings, impossibility of entering a field collapsing in on itself, etc.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Maybe the paper wanted to play a game of "print charades" or "print hangman" where the reader has to guess the missing word or how the sentence should read.

Kudos for the paper for being so interactive with its readers. NOT.