Thursday, January 21, 2016

No ambitions to be a copy editor

Attention to detail is an essential attribute in my line of work. Yet again I noticed more errors in today's edition of The Age. Exhibit one is from an article reporting that Australian businessman Dick Smith being asked to stand as a candidate against Bronwyn Bishop at the next federal election, due to be held some time this year. It states that Smith used to run his National Geographic business from inside the electorate.

The journalist who wrote this article got his wires crossed. Dick Smith founded Australian Geographic magazine and the Australian Geographic Society in 1986, and sold it to Fairfax in 1995. National Geographic magazine and the National Geographic Society were founded in the United States in 1888.

Now for Exhibit 2. I later found an inaccuracy in an article in the business section, analysing Australia's present economic conditions. "We haven't had a recession since late 1991," writes our esteemed journalist. Technically this is correct, because the recession technically ended in the September quarter of that year, but his statement is ambiguous. Statistically speaking, the recession lasted from 1990 to 1991, but it ended much later in Victoria, which was particularly hard hit. The meaning would have been clearer if he had written "we haven't had a recession since 1990-91."

If you aspire to a career in copy editing for print or online, please check the copy for incorrect information, or poorly worded sentences, because automated spell checkers won't fix these for you.

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