“The money required to test recipes is probably not going to drain a paper’s budget. The food editors who were willing to share their figures — even ballpark ones — threw out numbers ranging from about $1,500 a month (San Francisco Chronicle) to $200 to $700 a week in groceries (Associated Press). The Washington Post spends more than $15,000 annually on testing for the entire paper.”
* And that’s why we test
Two sources tell me that Smithsonian magazine fired all six associate editors on Tuesday. I’ve asked editor-in-chief Michael Caruso to confirm this and comment on the account of the sackings, relayed by a friend of an axed editor [UPDATE: Caruso declined comment]:
Michael Caruso, the ed-in-chief at Smithsonian since October, laid off 6-8 people yesterday, including all 6 associate editors. They were the folks who did fact-checking and line editing – but several of them also wrote blogs, front-of-the-book items, and occasional features for the magazine.
Caruso apparently never bothered get to know or even meet the associate editors, and he referred to them as the “fact-checking” department, which belies a lack of understanding about what they did. Yesterday at 2pm [another source says it was 4 p.m. – Romenesko], he called them to a meeting, told them they were laid off, and then turned the room over to a rent-a-consultant who was supposed to help them find new jobs.
FROM THE MEMO:
Going forward, there will be two central desks — a metro desk located in Chicago and a community desk located in New England. The metro desk will produce newspapers with a circulation of 5,000 or more, while the community desk will produce pages for
publications with a circulation below 5,000 as well as all weeklies. Both desks will
contribute some digital content for local newspapers.
The Crimson White at the University of Alabama is looking for a copy editor. “I like people to understand what they’re getting into,” writes chief copy editor John Davis, “so the following is what I consider to be the five stages of life as a copy editor. Experiences may vary.”
Stage One: Doing your job, and genuinely caring
Stage Two: Getting increasingly frustrated at a writer’s inability to improve his or her writing
Stage Three: Questioning why you do the job as you hit the keyboard harder and harder with every correction.
Stage Four: Existential despair
Stage Five: Quiet reserve and acceptance of your role in life
Davis elaborates on those stages in his post and tells me in an email how he came up with his “Life Cycle” piece:
It started out as an idea for a column during the fall semester (I’m also a weekly columnist) with a bare bones outline of what the stages actually are.
I had considered writing for a week in which I didn’t have anything else more pertinent to touch on, but on Monday the opinions editor came up to me at work asking if I could write something, because her two columnists for Tuesday’s paper never submitted anything. Since I happened to have the list of stages in front of me, I just went with that. It was really only good timing that we also needed a copy editor.
So far I’ve only had one inquiry [about the job opening], but the reception seems to be positive, at least among people I’ve spoken with.
December, 2015 update: Davis is now a copy editor for The Hill.
Taypayers? It could have been more embarrassing (like “herniated dick”).
How did Gawker boss Nick Denton react A. J. Daulerio posting the infamous Brian Williams email? Daulerio tells me: “We had a brief spat in the office. He told me I was being a dick. I said he was being a dick. But I think we like each other again. There are more important things to worry about.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch copy editor Ted Rodgers says he thought of “Barkis is willing” — from Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield” — while trying to come up with a subhead for a news brief.
“The item was about Warren Buffett, but in an allusion to ‘David Copperfield,’ I wrote ‘Buffett is willing.’ I did not think anyone would catch the so-very-light allusion, but went ahead with it.”
Reader Jim Steffen got the reference and, after arguing with his brother about it, called the Post-Dispatch to make sure he was right.
“The call was forwarded to me,” writes Rodgers. “It made my day, and Jim’s.”