John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Two warnings

Be careful about what you write: Mike Memoli, one of my former students, now covering the White House for Real Clear Politics, sent out a tweet this week warning journalists to be careful what they say in e-mail, because that correspondence can be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

The State in South Carolina got hold of e-mails to Gov. Mark Sanford’s staff by that means, and some of what came to light was not pretty.

Be careful about what you listen to: Unless the program directors have turned up someone more interesting in the past three days, a short interview with me on the parlous state of copy editing is to be broadcast on this week’s On the Media at National Public Radio.

The program’s Web site will help you find when the program is being broadcast in your area, and you can download the program from the Web site if it’s not possible or convenient to listen to the broadcast.

C'mon, AP, tell us about the Olden Times

It’s the little touches that make newspaper/wire service journalism look as if it was written exclusively for people who remember the Eisenhower administration. For your inspection, this Associated Press headline:

Senate saw carbon copy of courthouse Sotomayor

Feel free to mention in comments the last time you used carbon paper or saw someone use carbon paper. Full marks if you have had to explain to a child what a carbon copy is. Extra credit if you have had to explain to an adult what a carbon copy is. And please name any newspaper that was lazy enough to use the AP headline in the print edition.

And now I have a busy day of writing ahead and have to sharpen my quills.