St. Augustine Record publisher Delinda Fogel’s ambitious goal for 2014 “is to eliminate the typos and grammar mistakes in the newspaper.” (The “imate” typo above is from Sunday’s edition of another Florida paper, the Sun-Sentinel.)
I hear from some readers that part of the entertainment value of The Record is counting the number of errors. I’m not proud that we have a problem. It is very humbling, but it seems to take an army to help turn this tide.
This isn’t a simple work-at-home project; participants are asked to meet at the Record building to proofread pages from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“We’ll keep a tally of the proofreading volunteers and award a nice dinner for two to the person who helps us catch the most typos and errors,” writes Fogel (at left). (I’ve sent her an email, asking why she doesn’t hire professionals to edit the paper.)
A former Record employee tells me that the paper has a four-person copy desk and that it’s “extremely overworked, and copy editing ends up being only about 10 percent of the job, as the copy editors also have to lay out the entire paper. There was barely time to proof pages when I was there, and the copy we got from editors was very rough.”
The Record is owned by Morris Communications.
Note to Morris Communications Group Publisher Les Simpson: Last weekend, you wrote on Facebook: “Want to know what is responsible for why newspapers have struggled? I’m afraid it is archaic ‘journalists’ who would rather sit around and whine rather than give the audience what they want. We can still persevere, but quit living in the past. Quit reading Jim Romenesko and go chart the future.”
So charting the future for Morris Communications is taking people off the street and letting them do trained journalists’ jobs?