oh, yes, we do!

I wrote down this quote on copyeditors a few years ago and stumbled across it today. Like a good journalist, I didn’t cite the source, but it’s still worth it.

“Copyeditors were once an important part of the journalism process, back when journalists weren’t as educated as they are now. Back then, your typical reporter was named ‘Scoop’ and he was a semi-literate cigar-smoking, fannie-pinching drunk with bad teeth in a wrinkled suit and a card that said PRESS stuck in the hat-band of his fedora, and they’d generate their stories by bribing sources, pistol-whipping people into talking, eavesdropping from inside closets, etc. A reporter was hired for cheek and muscle, not their writing skill, so you needed an extra layer of editing. But nowadays, things have changed. “Scoop” is gone. Young reporters are all named “P. Laurence Butterfield Jr.” and they arrive at their first newspaper jobs fresh-faced and competent, straight from New Haven, Conn., with their high-faluting Princeton educations. They don’t need copyeditors.”

4 thoughts on “oh, yes, we do!

  1. Pr Petersen is obviously a sexist who hasn’t read the new style-guides which show us how to write with Properly Unsexist Politically-Correct Language, y’know, so’s we don’t go hurtin’ the feelings of the girl reporters by writing “his” instead of “their.” He’s such a bully.

  2. Weingarten, Gene. “Yanks Thump Sox” WashingtonPost.com 22 June 2008. Accessed 18 September 2012.

    Google and EasyBib have replaced the need for recording citations or even remembering how to cite a source properly. That’s all.

  3. This copy needed editing. The pronoun must agree in number with its antecedent. This, is simply wrong: “A reporter was hired for cheek and muscle, not their writing skill, so you needed an extra layer of editing.” It seems an extra layer was even needed here.

    Is this Schadenfreude? Maybe, or something, at least, very close to it. 🙂

  4. You wish you could be bribing sources and pistol-whipping people while eavesdropping in closets, don’t you? I knew it.

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