In class this week we had to go on a hunt for five examples of editing mistakes (I think I mentioned this assignment in an earlier blog). Well I figured I would share with you what I found since some are a little humorous. Here ya go:
The first two were bullet points of statistics I found when writing one of my blog posts. It’s a little hard to take these stats seriously when they have grammatical errors but I’m guessing that wasn’t really as much of a concern with the authors as the numbers. The next was also a quote I found while doing some research for a blog post. This one was a little funny because it was on how new technology has changed the world of film editing, but maybe she was using a type writer since spell check should have caught that one. The next is actually a link to someone who found an article about illiteracy in the NYC school system littered with grammatical and spelling errors. The original article was retracted to I can’t actually blame anyone for it but it seems to have been written in haste. The last was off a self-test I had to complete for a nutrition class I’m currently taking. The following is what was wrong with the sentences and how to fix them.
- In 2011, 1,745(23.6% of the 7,382) state legislators are women, a decrease from 1,809
-“are” should be “were” since “In 2011” implies that was in the past
- The U.S. is ranked at 69th in the world in terms of women’s representation in national legislatures or parliaments (tied with Turkmenistan) out 188 direct election countries (as of October 31, 2011), down from 57th in November 2004. Canada is tied with Australia for 38.20
– “out 188” should be “out of 188”. It is a statistic or ratio so the U.S. is 69th out of 188 direct election countries.
- “Back in the times of physical film being used in the process of film post production, one error during the splicing process could not be undone, meaning it was damaged, leaving less oppotunity for mistakes.”
– “oppotunity” should be “opportunity” simple spelling error.
- “I was nervus about how hard it was going to be, how much of a chnage it was going to be from high school,” Gonzalez said. “I knew I needed to take remedial, If I started right away with credit classes it wasnt going to be so well, so it’s better off starting somewhere.
-“nervus” should be “nervous”, “chnage” should be “change”, these are simple spelling mistakes. “wasnt” should be “wasn’t” which is an easy grammatical error. And the capital I in “If” should be lowercase, or the comma before it should be a period. All are mistakes that should have been caught if read through just once.
- I Aware of the calorie content of foods that I eat.
– “I Aware” should be “I am aware”. I did not include this but every sentence in the check list had the second word in the sentence capitalized which is not right.
This week we started to talk about gender biased in writing in the English language; we tend to use the pronoun he when we should use they or their. We started the conversation in my Copy Editing class off with a Ted talk by Laura Bates about everyday sexism. The statistics in her talk came from the U.K. and they were really surprising. She looked into women in government, arts, and sciences, and found that the number of men were staggeringly higher than women in all of these fields. I decided to look into the numbers in the U.S. I found that “women hold 17 of the 100 Senate seats” and that “women hold 73 or 16.8% of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives”. I also found that “the U.S. is ranked at 69th in the world in terms of women’s representation in national legislatures or parliaments (tied with Turkmenistan) out of 188 direct election countries (as of October 31, 2011), down from 57th in November 2004. Canada is tied with Australia for 38.”1 One other interesting tid bit I found was that Rwanda was ranked first in women in government.
I also looked into women in film and television and found that “In 2014-15, women comprised 26% of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on documentaries and narrative features screening at more than 20 high-profile film festivals in the United States.” Also “In 2014, females comprised 12% of protagonists, 29% of major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters in the top 100 grossing films.”2 These stats match a lot of Laura Bates in the fact that women are widely under-represented.
To tie this back to copy editing, I looked into the newspaper industry. This is what I found: “Nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. newspapers had at least one woman in their top three editing positions in 2013, according to the new annual census from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), using 2013 data. Nearly half the papers responding (49%) said that one of those top editors was a woman, 12% employed two women in those top slots and 2% reported that all three top editors were women.”3 That’s awesome! This industry is really doing well with getting women in positions of authority. Then I remembered Laura Bates’s ted talk. While it was great that women were really doing well in journalism and the writing field I wondered if or how they struggled to get there. These numbers weren’t always like this. I found an article by Tracy Everbach, who said that after she advised an intern to shadow an older journalist. The intern later told Everbach the man made a pass at her. Everbach then did a little research and reports that “No significant surveys of women journalists on this topic have been completed since the 1990s. But at that time, studies found that between 60 percent and 80 percent of women journalists had experienced some kind of sexual harassment in newsrooms, either from co-workers or sources.”4 Let me just repeat that, 80% of women journalists experienced some kind of sexual harassment in the newsroom. That is appalling. While it is clear that women have and continue to make huge strides in many fields and especially in writing it is also clear that the road is rocky and filled with cat calls.
This week we need to find five examples of editing mistakes. The question posed in my Copy Editing class was “How would we know if it’s an editing mistake or a writing mistake?” The answer given was “It was published”. Back in the day you couldn’t get anything published without having an editor look it over. Now a days we have the internet! You can post anything you want in a matter of minutes with all the spelling, grammatical, or other errors for everyone to see. So I asked the internet how it has effected the world of copy editing and it gave me Angela Avery-Ahlijian’s essay “Copy Editing in the Digital Age: How Technology Has Changed Copy Editing”. 1 She says that a threat to the “art” of copy editing is that there are now programs that will electronically review your writing and spit it out with spelling errors, tense mistakes and so forth, marked for revision. She quotes Neil Holdway with saying that in the news the transition from paper to web is threatening good editing. I myself have caught errors when reading the news on my HuffPost or BBC app on my phone. Holdway attributes sloppy web editing to the fact that deadlines have changed. Now we expect the news cycle to never end, to always be updating. Before when journalists submitted their work every night there was a time to thoroughly edit articles. That traditional new cycle no longer exists.
Included in Avery-Ahlijian’s thesis is the computerization of the paste-up of a newspaper. Web news editors now have to be versed in “search-engine optimization” so the articles posted get more hits when key words are typed in. These, as well as other new tasks, have come under a copy editors job description since the dawn of the tech age. With new technologies some things required by editors have become easier (fact checking being one).
Going back to the assignment posed in class to find editing mistakes. The age of web based news and articles does make it easier to skip an editor all together which does result in a lot of mistakes. It also makes correcting these mistakes a lot easier. While it’s true that once it’s on the web it’s there forever news outlets can post retractions or edited articles much quicker than with newspapers.
Jasmine Aloma points out that digital editing in film has helped the industry in a very similar way. She says “Back in the times of physical film being used in the process of film post production, one error during the splicing process could not be undone, meaning it was damaged, leaving less oppotunity for mistakes.”2 (notice the spelling error? I copy and pasted that quote from her internet article).
So it’s obvious that the world of editing has changed a lot since the popularization of the internet and the expansion of its uses. The basic idea and need for a copy editor has not changed and as an art should not be lost.
Sorry I have been absent from the blog for a while! I was having some serious writes block and could not decide what to focus my next piece on. Since this is for a grade it’s time to hop to.
I’ve always been interested in acting, particularly films. I decided to look into how screen plays are written and edited. By just googling screenplay editing I got a lot of hits on services and freelancers that will edit a screen play you’ve written. One service I found charged two dollars a page and included in their services “revising sentences and rambling dialogue” and “cutting some scenes if they do not serve the plot”. It expressed that they would not comment on script or story premise but simply improve the readability of the script.
This made me question, what kind of editor you would take your script to if you did want them to help you with the story line or plot. This service I could not particularly track down. I’ve come to the conclusion that this job would fall on a friend or colleague you trust but not on a stranger for hire. I did however find a great article by Matt Giegerich called “Writing is Deleting: Script Editing Techniques for Screenwriters”. In his short article Matt gives a lot of useful tips about cutting parts of action sequences and dialogue that can, in some cases, be applied to other kinds of writing. He advised about where to enter and end scenes to achieve the most intrigue. He also discussed how to tweak your dialogue to be more convincing of a natural conversation. This is something I can imagine would be difficult when writing a television show or movie, since you are solely responsible for making each character unique and believable.
In my fashion of working backwards, I thought editing an existing script seems difficult, especially when it’s your writing and ideas you have to tweak or delete for the sake of the script. What would be even more difficult would be adapting another written work, like a novel, into a screenplay. Of course I’m digressing from copy-editing but it’s an interesting topic and a type of editing so who cares? John Folsom wrote an interesting piece about his experience with screen writing titled “Turning a Novel into a Screenplay”. In it he discusses how he had to cut out a key character in the book, and change a good deal of the details in the novel to make it work for the big screen. He even changes some of the plotline. He cautions that you must have approval from the author to make changes like these but also you need to be on the same page as the studio to produce a script they want. That’s a lot of people to keep happy, on top of condensing the novel into a readable script. It’s no wonder people always say the book was better than the movie.
Links to the articles are below. I hope you found this topic as interesting as I did. TTYS –Emily