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By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 3, 2012
The other day I praised Gore Vidal's Lincoln , mentioning in particular the accuracy of its historical details.  Now I learn that the estimable Heidi Landecker, now of The Chronicle of Higher Education , was the fact checker for the book (which she did not much esteem) and a principal source of that historical accuracy.  Her account of working with Gore Vidal  is well worth a few minutes of your time.     
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 12, 2014
For reporters, writing online must seem like admission to heaven. No space limits, no damn copy editor ruthlessly cutting forty lines of burnished prose to make it fit the page. Little interference from an editor, or even, bless us and save us, no editor at all .  Unfortunately, the online writer falls victim to the same fallacy entertained by the print writer: Because it's published , people read my stuff.* A couple of days ago, Craig Schmidt, formerly of the Star-Ledger , posted this comment on Facebook to the link to my post "Wait, wait, don't hang all the editors" : "What we've really lost -- especially online -- is making every word count.
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NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 3, 2013
In its obituary of William Rees-Mogg, sometime editor of The Times , Britain's Independent included this passage : Fraser Nelson, the editor of The Spectator, yesterday recalled the advice Lord Rees-Mogg gave him in 2001: "He said he took inspiration from Ben Johnson's essays: the originals, he said, were still the best. " It seems unlikely, highly unlikely, that Lord Rees-Mogg looked for inspiration to Timber , the collection of miscellaneous notes and observations by Ben Jonson, published posthumously.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 28, 2014
You have heard of me. I operate the Dullatron. I drain the life from reporters' articles. I am a copy editor, determinedly extinguishing originality as I slap a coat of battleship gray over all that is fresh and imaginative.  Or so I have heard, or overheard, during the past three decades.  Now a reader sends me a link to "Against Editors," a Gawker  article by Hamilton Nolan, in which one can find a familiar tone: ...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 23, 2012
The linguist Charles Carpenter Fries strove to show how far classroom English diverged from what is actually standard English, both in speech and writing. In The Story of Ain't   (reviewed yesterday) , David Skinner describes how Fries set out to establish this through empirical evidence, a corpus study of three thousand letters written to the U.S. government by ordinary citizens. He developed this analysis in a book, American English Grammar , demonstrating that "the actual difference in underlying grammar between vulgar and standard was, in reality, quite small.
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
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 7, 2013
Writing at Vanity Fair , James Wolcott mourns the passing of the Boston Phoenix , including a memorable appreciation of the copy editor's craft by Al Giordano:  Copy editors were the heart and soul of the  Phoenix  experience, and I've long since thought that separating the two kinds of editing was at the core of the paper's genius. Let me explain: A story editor checks your facts and challenges you on them, and you debate with him or her and fuss over the content and substance of your story.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | February 19, 2014
On Wednesday I added my small voice to the chorus taking Abraham Hyatt to task for remarks about copy editing and copy editors quoted on Jim Romenesko's site.  Mr. Hyatt has remonstrated in a comment:  Thanks for calling me a name that your commenting system won't let me repeat. Classy.  I was writing about a process, an editorial process -- which included copy editors -- that failed. You seem to forget that I _wanted_ copy editors. I see the value of them.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | July 18, 2011
Connie L. Knox, a veteran Baltimore Sun copy editor and Sun Magazine writer who had been active in the Newspaper Guild for decades, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack at her Sparks home. She was 68. Connie L. Mugrage was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she graduated from high school in 1961. She earned a degree in journalism in 1965 from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She worked briefly for the News-Herald in Willoughby, Ohio, before taking a newspaper job in New London, Conn.
NEWS
May 31, 2006
Albert R. Fischer, a retired sports reporter and copy editor whose career with The Sun spanned more than three decades, died of lung cancer Saturday at the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville, Ga. The former Catonsville resident was 73. A Baltimore native, Mr. Fischer moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., with his family in 1937. They subsequently returned, and he graduated from McDonogh School in 1950. Mr. Fischer enlisted in the Army in 1952 and served in Korea as a news reporter. He was wounded by shrapnel and awarded the Purple Heart, family members said.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | August 15, 2014
Many of you have seen that the Gannett newspapers are in the throes of a reorganization, cutting the staffs,* and creating ludicrous titles for the remnant.  One goal appears to be the elimination of Gannett's remaining copy editors, in the interest of more immediacy between writer and reader, with fewer "layers" or "tiers," or "silos," or whatever the current corporate speak is for settling for quick, cheap, sloppy work because readers are...
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | July 18, 2014
Other people's typographical errors are always more amusing than one's own.  The mechanism is simple. An instant's distraction, the wrong neuron fires, and the mind, knowing what it intended  to write, slides over the error without recognizing it.  One makes them. Everyone makes them. This is why (How often must I tell you this before it sinks in?) I ought to have a copy editor. You ought to have a copy editor. Everyone ought to have a copy editor.  The endless fertility of typographical errors makes possible a book, Just My Typo (Three Rivers Press, 181 pages, $11.99)
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 2, 2014
At Poynter today we find an item about how far a newspaper correction should go .  An editor at the Toronto Star  inserted an error into a reporter's article. The correction identified the error but not who perpetrated it, and the newspaper's ombudsman, Kathy English, has commented on the matter , suggesting that greater transparency would be appropriate.  The Star , like many newspapers, takes collective responsibility for what it publishes and does not go in for finger-pointing when it corrects errors.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2014
My estimable colleague Mark Allen, tweeting today as @EditorMark, reminds us: " You 'lay' something. But, annoyingly, 'lay' also is the past tense of 'lie.' Lay an object down. Lie down. He lay down. (It was laid down.)" I learned the  lie/lay  distinction in the fifth grade under the firm direction of Mrs. Jessie Perkins, who brooked no dissent over usage, and I have diligently observed it without fail for the past half-century as teacher's pet, college student, graduate student, and copy editor.  But Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage  points out that though the distinction, first established in the eighteenth century, has been maintained stolidly by grammarians, schoolteachers, and editors in formal written English, they have had little effect on spoken usage.  Thus "the conflict between oral use and school instruction has resulted in the distinction between lay  and lie  becoming a social shibboleth--a marker of class and education.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | April 16, 2014
When I tell my students that most of the work of a copy editor is to take texts that are flawed and leave them merely mediocre, they look faintly stunned. (I get that a lot.)  Most journalism is routine, therefore average, therefore mediocre. There should be no shame in the simple conveying of such information, accurately, clearly, succinctly.  Journalists go wrong when they display a misplaced ambition to make routine news stories literary, typically with mixed or strained metaphors, pretentious allusions, and overwrought diction.
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 | February 19, 2014
On Wednesday I added my small voice to the chorus taking Abraham Hyatt to task for remarks about copy editing and copy editors quoted on Jim Romenesko's site.  Mr. Hyatt has remonstrated in a comment:  Thanks for calling me a name that your commenting system won't let me repeat. Classy.  I was writing about a process, an editorial process -- which included copy editors -- that failed. You seem to forget that I _wanted_ copy editors. I see the value of them.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | January 6, 2014
No one appreciates better than a copy editor the human propensity to error. Ands thus when an error is made by a copy editor, the right thing to do is to fess up forthrightly.  Item: Last week I wrote on Nicholas Kristof's dropping the middle initial from his byline . He subsequently tweeted that my referring to his having done so in a column was wrong, that the text had appeared on his blog, On the Ground . He is correct, and...
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