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  • I'm a writer, journalist, and the editor of The Gambit, the alt-weekly newspaper in New Orleans.

    Journalism: My work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Globe & Mail (Canada), The Times- Picayune (New Orleans), The Oregonian, and Willamette Week, as well as in magazines including Details, Vogue, Publishers Weekly, and Portland Monthly.

    Publishing: Tight Shot, my first novel, was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Its sequel, Hot Shot, was roundly ignored by everyone, but was a far better book. I'm also a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

    Stage: I was a member of the Groundlings and Circle Repertory West in Los Angeles, and am a playwright (see "Stage" in the right-hand rail).

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« Dept. of Unfortunate Headlines Dept. | Main | The Portland Tribune and KPTV: why no conflict-of-interest disclosure? »

May 05, 2008

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Comments

nancy

Agh!

Alan C

Ha ha! Off to a great start, Mr. Pamplin.

Shannon

Copy editors are certainly undervalued. We don't even have any at my job (I write news for a TV station's web site). So every time I write a story and hit the publish button I say a little prayer inside my head that I didn't typo, use improper grammar or get the facts wrong. When no one's looking at what you're doing, though, it does happen. Doesn't mean I'm stupid or can't write... just means that I'm human and make mistakes.

Kevin

Exactly, Shannon - and I know the feeling. Even on blogposts, I hit "send" and immediately see something that could've been more artfully phrased. We can all use an editor in our corner.

That's what makes me so sad about the Trib-ulations; the author of the story with the misspelling in the dec had done a good job with his piece (as you know, reporters don't often write their own heds and decs - although who knows how that's changing). And the editor who wrote the hed and the dec certainly knows how to spell. But that level of polish, when it's missing, casts a pall over the whole enterprise among readers who don't understand the granularity of the editorial process. It ends up reflecting badly on the writer, the hed writer, and the paper as a whole.

The latter may deserve it (in this case), but the other two certainly don't.

And, in my deepest heart, I have to admit that I wonder the same thing. Judith Miller's stories at the NY Times were undoubtedly models of spelling and grammar, yet they were wrong tip to tail. Yet I always wonder: if the paper can't get the itsy details right, who's to say that they're getting the big picture right?

Bobb

What's a "hed writer"?

Bobb

Wow and me working for a paper, I should have known. I have been informed that there is such a thing as a "hed writer".
My apologies.

Samuel John Klein

This is why you try not to make those "one small mistakes" that will happen when you make big mistakes, like cashiering all your copy editors.

Of course it's possible that after being stranded 30 miles from home she'd walk down the road yelling "chicken!" "Turkey!" "Cornish game hen!" "pheasant!".

If it were me, I'd use different words, of course.

Kate

A good copy editor is worth their weight in gold. Bad move, Trib.

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RECENT ARTICLES

BOOKS


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    "A worthy successor to Tight Shot, Allman's insider view of the seamier side of Hollywood is not only hip and entertaining but also has something serious to say about our insatiable hunger for tabloid thrills."


    Washington Post:
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    ----------


  • EDGAR AWARD NOMINEE
    BEST FIRST NOVEL
    MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA

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    New Orleans Times-Picayune:
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    Publishers Weekly:
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STAGE

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  • MY-O-MY
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  • BABYDADDY
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  • TWO IN THE BUSH
    An evening of comedies. In The Stud Mule, the world's richest woman arranges to be impregnated by a doltish escort; in Snatching Victory, an earnest college student runs afoul of her lecherous professor and the dour head of a women's-studies department (Le Chat Noir, New Orleans; 2003).

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