Another member of the club

April 02, 2013|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

With this ringing announcement on Facebook, "Sorry about this, everyone, but I've started a blog on editing," Ed Latham, a subeditor with Britain's Observer, launches Ten Minutes Past Deadline

Mr. Latham's first post takes issue with my advice not to pander to sticklers. And, I am compelled to admit, he makes some cogent arguments. How much time are you willing to spend responding to sticklers and justifying your editing? Can you trust the people who will respond to sticklers' complaints on your behalf to make the case for you? How much "dumbness with no reward" can you afford to deal with? 

I advise you to click on the link and hear him out. 

The difficult decision for you as an editor comes down to this. You have a limited amount of time and attention, and you have to decide how to spend it most profitably. Are you going to go through copy and take the time to make it conform to the stickler rules, even the bogus ones, to avoid wasting your time later arguing with the stubbornly uninformed? Or are you going to use what time you have for more substantial issues of factual accuracy, clarity, and cleanness of prose, knowing that you are going to have to explain yourself to the less-enlightened in the shop as well as the complaining public? 

This is why editing is not for amateurs.

And Ed Latham is no amateur. Now you have another party whose views and advice you would do well to attend to.


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