Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My life, her words

What it's really like to be a copy editor, according to Lori Fradkin. You beat me to it, girl.

The job has its perks--an accumulation of random knowledge, for instance—but it also has its side effects when you unintentionally drink the copy Kool-Aid. Once you train yourself to spot errors, you can’t not spot them. You can’t simply shut off the careful reading when you leave the office. You notice typos in novels, missing words in other magazines, incorrect punctuation on billboards. You have nightmares that your oversight turned Mayor Bloomberg into a "pubic" figure. You walk by a beauty salon the morning after you had sex for the first time with a guy you’ve been seeing and point out that there’s no such thing as “lazer” hair removal, realizing that this may not be the best way to get to have sex with him again.

Another downside of the job is that only your mistakes are apparent. The catches are basically invisible. No one will look at an edited article and think, I am certain that, once upon a time, there was a double quote where there should have been a single, and a wise person fixed the issue for my benefit. But if you let a “their” slip through in the place of a “there,” you are a complete moron. And if you are working online, commenters will let you know so. Then your boss will let you know that the commenters are saying so in case you didn’t see it yourself. Also, people will want to talk to you--outside of work--about grammar. Aside from the guy who called me “awkward, in a cute way,” I think the worst line I’ve heard was from the dude who asked my thoughts on the serial comma.

In my case, the ellipsis...

[h/t: The Daily Dish]

4 comments:

pipafish said...

unsung heroes in the newsroom.ay mali, of the newsroom. ay mali uli, around the newsroom. ano ba tama gibss. hehehe. seriously, kumbaga sa alcoholic. sila yung battered liver.

Anonymous said...

sorry. for the uninformed readers. ano ba ang ginagawa ng copy editor? tagahanap ng mali? does it require them to be knowledgeable din sa mga nababasa nila or are they after lang sa mga errors on form?

gibbs cadiz said...

copy editor--an editor who prepares text for publication (thefreedictionary). the work includes tightening text, sharpening for clarity, eliminating errors of grammar etc., making sure content follows the editorial standards of the publication using it--and is accurate in its facts. so, yes, copy editors have to know what they're editing--understand what it's talking about. sometimes walang 'mali' grammatically, but the text can still be improved in terms of flow, style, punch, etc. so it's not just 'paghahanap ng mali'. it's also enhancing what's already there.

Pajammy said...

i love you, gibbs, i really love you for being so patient with our articles :)

you and lito are my heroes!

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