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By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 23, 2012
Gregory Moore, the editor of the Denver Post , is, I believe, a good man grappling with a difficult challenge. The Post , as described in an article at Poynter.org by Steve Myers , is essentially eliminating its copy desk. Eleven are going or gone, a couple have been reassigned to other duties, and the nine survivors become assistant editors assigned to the various newsroom departments. When explanations of these and similar changes are made, there is talk of moving away from "assembly-line editing" and "outmoded nineteenth-century industrial processes" to some bold, modern, fresh, immediate journalism that removes all those unnecessary "touches" between the writer and the reader.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 7, 2014
In my post on Laura Hale Brockway's inane word-nerd quiz at PR Daily ( “So that's how they see us,” June 5), I made a throwaway remark that I could produce a better word-nerdiness quiz myself, and one reader allowed that that might be interesting. So I descended to the crypt where I preserve my trove of sentences to see how I might challenge your ability to spot errors of grammar or usage and other infelicities. Try your hand at these specimens I have brought to light.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | March 13, 2012
As copy desks gradually pass into history at the hands of sharp-pencil corporate functionaries who do not believe in editing, let us spare a moment to rescue from You Don't Say 's archives a handful of the heroic moments of the craft.     GREAT MOMENTS IN COPY DESK HISTORY I   On an otherwise uneventful evening in May 1982, the copy desk at The Cincinnati Enquirer was at work on the first edition. Webb Matthews was following the wire services.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 4, 2014
Reading Monday's article at Poynter.org on corrections , I find myself at odds with Steve Buttry and Craig Silverman, who think that errors inserted by editors should be identified as such, because bylines make reporters visible and expose them to social-media abuse.  I may have to rethink that.  People who have commented on the subject point out that readers of a bylined story assume that the writer is responsible for any...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 22, 2012
Yesterday I was introduced to a new reporter at The Sun  and described as the editor in charge of the copy desk.  "Oh," he said, "you're the one who will kill my darlings. " I said, "I prefer to think of it as euthanasia. "     
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 9, 2012
A commenter remarked once that I seem to be a little severe on writers. Full marks for perceptiveness.  Let me tell you what it was like for copy editors in the medieval mists of a quarter-century and more ago. Copy editors worked mainly at night, when the important people had gone home. They worked weekends and holidays. The good that they did in correcting errors was invisible; merciful Lord help them if they inserted an error. And they were objects of scorn.  Reporters would casually say that copy editors took a text and "ran it through the dull machine.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | February 20, 2014
Evidently inspired by Abraham Hyatt's ill-considered remarks, reported on Romenesko , about copy editors bringing the operation to a "screeching halt,"* the American Journalism Review has posed a question on Twitter: What do you think? Do copy editors negatively affect news outlets' flows? Of course they can.  So can prima donna writers who imagine that deadlines are for other people.  So can inept assigning editors unable to manage their writers or their copy flow.  So can clueless managers who fail to coordinate the operation efficiently.  News tends not to happen on schedule, problems can crop up at any stage of the process, and anyone is capable of gumming up the works.
ENTERTAINMENT
By James H. Bready | March 21, 1999
Hervey Brackbill(1901-1999)Hervey Brackbill was telegrapher, reporter, copy editor, birdwatcher, music critic, bird essayist, slot man, bird bander, features editor, birder. He died March 6. Two more years, and he would also have been a centenarian.Sighting that name as an Evening Sun editorial page byline, many Baltimoreans took it for a nom de birdplume. But no: Swiss forebears spelt it Brechbuehl.Brack was a printer's son. Leaving Lancaster, Pa., after high school, Brack worked for Western Union -- telegrams were yesterday's e-mail, sort of -- and then, in Baltimore, for the Associated Press.
NEWS
January 17, 2012
I think it's fair to say that Benjamin J. Marrison, editor of The Columbus Dispatch , is forthright. Here is what he said in an article in yesterday's editions: “Thursday's front page made me want to vomit.” Thursday's front page misspelled the first name of the president of the United States, twice. And Mr. Marrison went on to recount other instances of embarrassing errors creeping into his pages. I'm not going to badmouth The Dispatch , where I have been a guest on a couple of occasions, and some of whose copy editors I have known for years and whose chagrin I can share.
NEWS
January 17, 2012
Yesterday, winter arrived in Baltimore, with the sun shining and temperatures in the middle sixties. I really should have gone outside to rake up the remaining oak leaves from our neighbor's trees and do something about all those damned Higgs bosons, but I had holiday preparations to do. And today dawns Festivus. The aluminum pole is up in the living room. I am putting off the Feats of Strength, because later I will go to the paragraph factory to sit as the supervising editor on the news desk and shepherd through (and do a goodly amount of primary copy editing on)
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | February 20, 2014
Evidently inspired by Abraham Hyatt's ill-considered remarks, reported on Romenesko , about copy editors bringing the operation to a "screeching halt,"* the American Journalism Review has posed a question on Twitter: What do you think? Do copy editors negatively affect news outlets' flows? Of course they can.  So can prima donna writers who imagine that deadlines are for other people.  So can inept assigning editors unable to manage their writers or their copy flow.  So can clueless managers who fail to coordinate the operation efficiently.  News tends not to happen on schedule, problems can crop up at any stage of the process, and anyone is capable of gumming up the works.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 27, 2014
When Delinda Fogel, publisher of the Saint Augustine Record , invited members of the public to proofread the paper in a campaign to eliminate typos and grammatical errors, she got for her pains some attention from Jim Romenesko's site  and a horselaugh from Saturday Night Live .  I think that consulting readers about their preferences, concerns, and issues is generally a good thing, but I suspect that Ms. Fogel's effort is...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 2, 2014
We begin Anno Domini 2014 with a momentous announcement at The New York Times : Nicholas Kristof has dropped the middle initial from his byline .  Please remain calm. Do not panic. Remain in your seats.  Mr. Kristof is at some pains to explain that the middle initial, once a mark of gravitas, has come to look too formal, a barrier to the audience. (Neckwear is also apparently a barrier; he announces as well that he has forgone neckties and now wears open-collar shirts to the office.)
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | December 18, 2013
My esteemed former colleague Elizabeth Large responded on Facebook a couple of weeks ago to a comment about the joy I presumably get for cheerfully turning dreck into art: "T wo things I know. He's not being cheerful. Also his irritation at drek far outweighs any pleasure he gets from editing it. " Just so. I have been reflecting since on the irritability of the copy editor. Acknowledging that it may merely rise from cussedness, a quality either inborn or developed early in life, I nevertheless think that there a good reasons for it.  The first is that copy editors, whatever the appearance of their desks, esteem order, clarity, and consistency in prose.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 25, 2013
1. I have a mortgage. Why else do you think anyone goes in to work every day to deal with those people? 2. I lack the imagination to write fiction and the temperament to do academic scholarship.  As an undergraduate at Michigan State University, I imagined that I had potential to write poetry and fiction. When Syracuse University turned me down for the master's program in creative writing but offered me a fellowship in the academic program, I took it, eventually leaving the program without completing the dissertation for the Ph.D.  It took me an unconscionably long time to recognize that I was not really cut out for academic scholarship, sitting in a carrel ransacking texts for publishable insights.
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 18, 2013
Some years ago, a Sun grandee being honored at a little retirement ceremony reflected on his long tenure at the paper. This worthy had at one time possessed the dignity of a correspondent in our Washington bureau, and I paraphrase what he said about the best of that time: My job was to file a story, and the job of the desk was to see to it that all of it got into the paper, without a lot of interference by the copy desk. * This memory popped to the surface today as I was reading the online ridicule of Tom Friedman's latest column in The New York Times . The opening paragraphs have afforded much innocent mirth:  I was at a conference in Bern, Switzerland, last week and struggling with my column.
NEWS
By Fred Rasmussen and Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF | May 28, 1998
Paul D. White, a retired Evening Sun editor, died of apparent heart failure Monday at his Kingsville farm. He was 76.He joined the Evening Sun as a copy editor in 1953 and held various editing positions, including telegraph editor, until he retired in 1986."
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 27, 2014
When Delinda Fogel, publisher of the Saint Augustine Record , invited members of the public to proofread the paper in a campaign to eliminate typos and grammatical errors, she got for her pains some attention from Jim Romenesko's site  and a horselaugh from Saturday Night Live .  I think that consulting readers about their preferences, concerns, and issues is generally a good thing, but I suspect that Ms. Fogel's effort is...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 28, 2013
Close attention to detail is a good thing in a copy editor. We want the text to be factually accurate, grammatical, and clear. But that attention to detail carries with it the hazard of becoming obsessed with trifles.  Take, for example, the "widow," a short line of only a couple of words at the top of a leg of type, or the "orphan," its counterpart at the bottom. The page would certainly look a little cleaner if the top and bottom of each leg of type filled out the line. But the amount of time involved in recasting sentences to eliminate widows an orphans can be counterproductive, not to mention the risk each editor takes of creating error when rewording text.  Some editors also spend their time pulling pieces of text from one line to the next.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 14, 2013
Jack W. Germond died today at the age of 85. When I was first at The Baltimore Sun , either on the copy desk or filling in as assistant national editor, I had the inestimable privilege of the occasional brief contact with Jack Germond and Jules Witcover. I had, years previously, read Timothy Crouse's The Boys on the Bus and knew something of their stature, but it was revelatory to see them in action. Mr. Germond and Mr. Witcover would call in the evening for some minor correction or some update to an article, and every time they demonstrated how a thoroughgoing pro operates.
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