Monday, October 08, 2007
Blogs need editing too
The rush to have newspaper reporters write blogs has not been followed by a rush of copy editors to polish those blogs. It shows. Glitches of all types abound, with posts showing little or no evidence of editing.

Here are five sentences from reporters' blogs, each with an editing error that most copy editors would detect and correct if given the chance. Take a look at these and see whether you notice anything. Answers are in the comments area.

1. They're wins over Tennessee and Oregon are good, but South Florida's are better.

2. Given past history I'd guess that it will end up on the satellite providers in reasonably short order.

3. I watched State play for the first time on Saturday and I don't know how much Raycom Lincoln Financial Sports' equipment had to do with it but there's way too much white on the field at State.

4. But if you're ordering a sweater or something, totally free shipping!

5. The second film, “The Rabbit Hunters,” sort of a moody “I’m Not Rappaport” set on the outskirts in Lisbon, is alright.

UPDATES: John Robinson, editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., offers a dissenting view. And Brian Cubbison of the Syracuse paper has some good advice.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 12:35 PM | Permalink |


  • At 12:55 PM, Blogger Andy Bechtel

    1. "Their" wins, not "they are" wins.

    2. "Past history" is redundant, and it's reasonable to delete "reasonably."

    3. Run-on sentence. This sentence should be broken up into separate sentences.

    4. Sentence fragment. Give us a subject and a verb.

    5. "Alright" should be "all right" unless you are talking about a song by The Who or the album of the same name.

  • At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Geek Girl

    I aced the quiz!
    My exclamation point is called for, but maybe not that one after "totally free shipping." I guess it depends on how excited free shipping makes you. :-)

  • At 9:27 PM, Anonymous teresa

    Amen, brother! In a perfect world, readers of said blogs would notice the errors and think, Gee, I guess copy editors really are important. In our less-than-perfect world, readers may instead reply, "Alright, they're wins now past history so I think I'll order a sweater or something to celebrate, and free shipping too!"

  • At 6:31 PM, Anonymous John Robinson

    Andy, I love you, man, but I had to disagree with you on this one. I just did it from the safety of my own blog. See you at Converge.

  • At 8:28 PM, Blogger Andy Bechtel

    Thanks for the link and perspective, John.

    Of course, I disagree, as do many readers who expect a higher level of writing and editing at newspaper blogs than they elsewhere on the Web.

    Just as in print, such errors erode credibility and authority.

  • At 8:37 AM, Anonymous John M. White

    I'd like to add a few changes I would have made. In sentence #2, "past history" is redundant, but if you keep any part of that phrase, it should be followed by a comma. In sentence #4, "or something" is meaningless; substitute another possible purchase, or leave the phrase out.