Wednesday, March 31, 2004

For the record

I love newspaper work.

Roll that press.

Career advice

Pete Hahnloser makes the following post at Testy Copy Editors:

I'm going to give away my nonstandard route to where I'm at now by saying that I never had an internship, nor did I ever see the value in it.
Perhaps an impressive internship or two at papers "everyone" has heard of is a valuable commodity, but the whole idea of starting at the top serves only to confirm young journalists' belief that their effulent is without odor (I had this problem, and was quickly broken of it at my first job).

There are plenty of positions available at papers with circulations upwards of 30,000 for those without internships who are willing to live in a city they've never heard of. Even at smaller papers, the experience of actually doing the job is more valuable than a paid internship that won't resemble the work someone will be doing afterwards.

Unpaid internships are certainly more palatable for those withdrawing from the First National Bank of Dad, but if people choose those over a real job, I can't feel any sympathy for their plight.

Perhaps it comes down to a question of prestige. I'd rather come home from work knowing that what I did today made a difference to our readers than being proud of the fact that I'm doing little-to-nothing at a paper everyone's heard of.

Admittedly, I was scared as hell of moving to a city of 40,000 after living in nothing but metro areas of 2 million or more, but it's a good experience to see how people actually survive in small towns.

People may feel like small papers are beneath them, but a corollary is that they probably feel their readers are beneath them as well -- wherever they end up.

From: Ashland, Ore.

Words of wisdom from start to finish.

Email from a Member of Parliament

I hate those hoax warnings, but this one is important!!!
Please send this to everyone on your email list.
If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey and asks you to show him your bum,
do not show him your bum. This is a scam; he only wants to see your bum.
I wish I'd got this yesterday. I feel so stupid.
[First name of MP]

Who says the pollies are all dour?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Fast response

And before you know it, Lenka from farkleberries tells me how to reduce the point size, which has also made the penny drop about what various other parts of the coding mean. Thanks, Lenka.

And now I think I'll head off and make newspapers.

Monday, March 29, 2004

This seems daunting but there is an elegant logic. Thanks to for the basis of the coding.

Edited March 30 to shunt long piece of coding off to wigcode

Now can somebody tell this newbie how to a) reduce the point size on the title header and b) establish 3 points of space above the date separater on the recent posts field

Gradually figuring this out

A slight tweak to the design so that recent posts follow the useful links.

And that's the way I'd like it.

Clever cars

Police are always telling us that ''a patrol car spotted'' or a ''vehicle failed to obey''.

Why? Beats me.

An unfortunate column title

There is a thread on the ACES discussion board about this column on the Daily Mountain Eagle's web site. The column's content is irrelevant. I hope fellow copy editors enjoy an opinionated piece, even if they disagree with it. Any assertion that copy editors should not write columns is a bit odd. But the paper shouldn't burden the copy editor's colleagues and successors with that tag from the copydesk. Political and religious diversity operates on any desk I've ever worked on.

If you want my political or religious opinion, ask me over a beer.

The shame file

Fox Sports informs me that I am ranked 24,294 out of 25,539 tippers in the National Rugby League tipping competition.

There are 23,293 cheats out there! :-(

Macquarie Dictionary has something useful to say

Further to my earlier comment about acronyms a usage note from the Macquarie.

acronym noun a word formed from the initial letters of other words, as radar (from radio detection and ranging) or ANZAC (from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). initialism [ACR(O)- + Greek (Doric) onyma name; modelled on HOMONYM]
Usage: Acronyms tend to start out in life as capitals which then reduce to lower case as the word formed becomes accepted as a lexical item and people cease to analyse it into its component parts. However, if there is the possibility of confusion with some other homograph, this process is arrested. Thus DINK became dink, but AIDS has retained its capitalised status, so as not to be confused with aids.

That said, I know there are some who will strongly disagree.

Let's face it, it's rocket science.

Summarising the story on the NASA craft that broke mach 7 took some digging into mathematical memories.

You never know what you need to learn. So learn as much as possible.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Acronym anger

Clay makes a fine point in his post with the above title.

Though I like to draw a distinction between an abbreviation and an acronym.

A life outside work

Yesterday was a day spent talking about fine art and music. The winner of the Archibald Prize for portraiture has been announced. See if you can pick the winner from the finalists.
Thanks Maxine.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Those crazy kids

Having completed our duties for the week the newsroom is sampling a $2.50 ($US1.85) bottle of wine that doesn't have a label.

Astonishingly, it's not bad.

recent posts log

Thanks to farkleberries for the coding.

And to Brian of The Olive Press for the link to it.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

From our paper this morning

The young friend of a Leader reporter innocently asked how her death sentence had gone. All
present were baffled until the eight-year-old's mum realised she recently explained that journalists worked to a deadline, hence the confusion.

Tempting isn't it?


I've always liked the clean classic ones. And I love this piece in The Onion.

A sans souci sans serif.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Handy phrase

Flat chat like a lizard drinking. It means being busy.
And that was my day.

Mar 25 postscript: Matt pionts out the correct phrase is flat out like a lizard drinking. There is also a phrase to go flat chat

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

More to life than money.

Philip Blanchard, member #1, of Testy Copy Editors makes a few industry observations on his return from the American Copy Editors Society conference.

I agree with the bit about finding inner peace with obscurity.

Except when some boofhead in a pub asks me why my name is not in the paper.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Want to know who to bet against?

Latest dispatch from Fox Sports .....
Welcome Paul Wiggins.

2004 Tipping

Your NRL results.
You are ranked 24,043 out of 24,607 tippers in the NRL competition.

The NRL is the National Rugby League

He's not scruffy he's . . .


English is a living language but this is contrived

Sunday, March 21, 2004

An AAP headline I'd rather not put in the paper

Waratahs object to sheep rooter tag
What were they thinking?

Herbert Wiggins 1913-86

Here was a man, in peace time and in war.

Spike Milligan's observation that if I die in war you remember me if I live in peace you don't is pertinent but happily wrong.

Thanks Dad

Friday, March 19, 2004

Continuity notes

a) there will be no post tomorrow and on most Saturdays. One does not live by keyboard alone.
b) times indicated are NSW time.

Ciao for now

Witty folk

Items from this group grace our community notices from time to time.

Spirituality in the Pub, 7.30pm-9pm, in the Upper Room, King's Head Tavern, corner King Georges Road and Connells Point Road, South Hurstville. Speakers: Fr Steve Sinn SJ ...... All Welcome

That's how to ferment debate

Graphical precision

A large part of my duties involves pagination.

Happily I love it - even the seemingly non-challenging tasks.

I like working in precise measures such as points (there being 72 points to an inch) quad ems or picas (12 points to the pica).

This opens up a world of opportunity for establishing ratios between headline size and the space to the next item and a box of other aesthetic tricks.

Every now and then while out socially I'm told by some youngish designer or photographer that nobody uses those measures any more.

To which all I can say is that it shows in the work of papers and magazines that don't.

Studying the measurements of the craft is as important as a fine artist doing life drawing.

The reader might not notice much about the nuances but will appreciate the cleaner look.

38cm deep by 62p2 rules OK!

About the blog title

It was chosen after a short exchange at Testy Copy Editors. After a long hard look at myself, this blog was born.

And Australians will often call a short bloke ''Lofty''.

Excellent advice

Nicole Stockdale offers this piece of advice on her A Capital Idea blog.

What you write on these message boards is very public and can be repeated indefinitely. It doesn't appear that Thomspon interviewed anyone for this piece; he simply used people's postings. What have you posted lately?

Make sure your posts don't say something unwarranted or ill-advised about you.

Here's hoping people have a truckload of salt on hand when reading this blog.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Customer is king

Britain's Independent reports on the success of ''compact'' papers.

Let's use the words quality and tabloid in the same sentence.

Photoshopping history gives an excellent presentation on photo manipulation today. (For people reading at a later date type the title of this post into the newsdesigner search field)

If it's in the paper, it ought to be true.

It's the same the whole world over:

From a colleague sub ...... (that's copy editor for those that prefer the term)

Tricksy subses. Hates them, precious, yessss we hates them.
Cutses our workses they does. Takeses our precious wordses and
mutilatesss them.
Pedantses they is, precious. Gollum. Makeses our delicious mangled
wordssss all correct and suckssss the lifeses from them.
Hates them. Stupid subses don't readses our storieses, just cutssss, cutssss,
cutssss. Gollum. Ruins our precious scribbleses and scrawlssss sos that itsss
not like our storieses at all, precious.
They don't think, no precious, they don't thinkses that readerss lookssss
at our bylineses and thinks we is stupidness. They never thinkses, No not
them, stinking subses.
But we'll show them, precioussss, yesssss.
We will leave, yesssss, before deadlineses, precious. And they can
ringses, and ring and ring and ringses. They can be lordses of the ringssss,
but we won't be here, precious.
We will be at the pubses, yes.
Make them weep and wail while we drinkses and drinkses and drinkses.
Yes, precious.
Subses, Filthy sstinkin, sstupid subses. We hates them, we hatess them
Yesss, precious. Gollum, gollum.

Pubses sounds sensible for subses

Blanchard rocks

Jeff Fenech had it right. Roll on at ACES conference.

Cruel and unusual punishment holding it the day after St Patrick's day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Yee ha, a bit of fame

Our esteemed paper has made the last item of this morning's Sydney Morning Herald's Column 8
*translation for non-Australians, to cark it is to die.

(postscript: a coworker points out it may be a reference to an Australian word derived from the following etymology .... ME kakken defecate; c. Icel. kuka defecate, L cacare, Greek kakos bad . Let's leave it there.)

I feel like a Guinness or two.

Hats off to this gent

Post Date: Wed Mar 17, 03:25:59 PM

Clay McCuiston, who describes himself as twentysomething, made a mighty fine post to his Copy Massage site in January. Here it is verbatim:

Friday, January 16, 2004
Let's Hear It For the Desk

This site -- and most other material about copy editing -- often gives the impression that editing is a lone pursuit. One pictures the noble copy editor, striving against all odds and a story full of inaccuracies. He or she faces the gale head-on and plows ahead.

Some of that is true. Most of it is not.

Because, you see, no copy editor works alone. Others on the desk help. Others rewrite headlines, catch further mistakes and round up stray bits of lost coding. They make the job possible.

If you have copy edited for any time at all, you know the feeling: A co-worker spots the most glaring, obvious error in a story you just edited. An error you didn't see. A misspelling of the president's name, perhaps. In the headline. (Not a mistake I've seen, mind you, but not far off.) Most people play it cool in a situation like that, but I find myself wanting to bow and kiss the hem of the co-worker's garment.

I offer help to others as well. As the night of editing goes on, I may tweak a headline or rearrange some words. I may notice the caption doesn't jibe with the photo it accompanies. The list goes on.

In the end, no one can do this job in a vacuum. The desk has to watch out for its own. That's how we learn, and that's how we put out a newspaper.

Some people know how to make your day. Thanks Clay.

They like to move it

The winner of the Australian National Basketball League will be decided in a five-game cross-town grand final series between the Sydney Kings and the West Sydney Razorbacks. (A razorback is a wild pig). You gotta love this town, always a ton of sports fun.
Bring it on.

Comments feature

Comments feature is now up and running. But what the heck's this trackback thingie?
Time for a cuppa

Blinkin' beach bureaucrats

Across my desk today is a plan to renourish sand at a beach so people can go swimming again. Oh dear.
Happy St Patrick's day

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Please use the links about useful opinions

There is a wealth of opinion at the links posted to the right. Some posts you will agree with, some you won't. In a free market place of opinion, truth wins out. I'm told some bloke called JS Mill said that.
That's enough work for one day. One more personal duty calls. Followed by a quiet ale.

Tom Mangan says you should update a blog in your own time. I will follow his advice. Stay tuned.

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