Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First, They Came For The Copy Editors

Gene Weingarten isn't too fond of the hidden costs of the WaPo buyouts, especially at the level of copyediting. "I'm writing this column the very week after dozens of copy editors left my newspaper through an early retirement buyout," he notes in the middle of a satiric rant about how copyediting is a relic of the past. Of course, the singular feature of this article is a vast meta joke: the piece is riddled through with the sorts of errors that copy editors fix! SO DO YOU FUCKING GET IT NOW, DEAR READERS!

Leaving aside the fact that many of the errors are ones that Weingarten really shouldn't be making in the first place, I like his screed. Mainly because the Post could stand to wean itself of some fat, rather than chewing up the lean, mean activity of copyediting and spitting it out. I guess my only objection here comes at the bottom, where Weingarten lists all of the errors in the piece. One in particular caught my eye:

The Headline: One error.

But the headline is "Yanks Thump Sox," and while that's a bad headline as far as the context of the article is concerned, it's superior search engine optimization strategy! And if there's one thing that can cover up the sins of poor copyediting, it's good SEO. Frankly, if Weingarten has titled his essay "Sexy Teens Sucking And Fucking," he would have been able to inculcate a much vaster audience.

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