Cincinnati Enquirer editor’s memo: We’re ‘getting slammed by readers on sloppy copy’

The editor of Gannett’s Cincinnati Enquirer tells her staff that many readers complained about mistakes in Sunday’s paper.

“I need to share these examples with you now,” writes Carolyn Washburn, “and ask each of you to take full ownership of your own clean copy.”

* November 2014: “There is no longer a copy desk staffed by copy editors at the Enquirer … One can imagine what that copy will look like now.” (

From: Washburn, Carolyn
Sent: Monday, February 9, 2015 3:19 PM
To: CIN-News Users
Subject: getting slammed by readers on sloppy copy

Just a reminder that clean and accurate copy starts with each reporter and photographer sending clean and accurate copy along to their producer or coach… then that producer or coach reviewing to make sure it’s all good before sending it along to digital publication or the Studio.
I’ve been communicating one/one as I see things, especially things that can still be fixed.

I know we aren’t at full staff. I know our workflow is different.

But I need to share these examples with you now and ask each of you to take full ownership of your own clean copy.

I know none of you want this either. So the only way to fix it is for each one of us — me included — to pay special attention to our own work. (I even made myself spellcheck this email.)

Choose a system that consistently works for you.

And ask your editor if there is something that can help you do that.

Let’s keep readers focused on our high-end work, not distracted by this.

I appreciate it.

Complaints from readers today about yesterday’s paper:

* the caption on the front page picture of the More Local section cited “Olyer School” (not Oyler)
* the bar graph at the top of p.A6 for the cover story twice read “…delinquint” (not delinquent)
* a headline for a letter to the editor said “Get all that that traffic out of Downtown” (rather than just one “that,”)
* the headline of the Business section read, “What you waiting for, entrepreneurs?”
* Page A10 – Kasich Jobs – Col. 4, Para. 4: ” …. wholistically”
* A14 – Driver Training – Col 4, Para. 5: ” … some outstanding very committed people” – comma or ‘and’ missing after ‘outstanding’
* A21 – Carol Motsinger – Col. 3, Para. 1: “I overuse explanation points” – I think she means ‘exclamation points’
* A22 – Cincinnati Bell – Col. 2, Para. 5: ” … giving the complaint” – should be ‘given the complaint’
* B3 – On Politics – Kitzhaber – Col. 4, Para. 5: ” …. Democratto resign” – missing space after “Democrat”
* C1 – Paul Daugherty – Xavier – Col. 1, Para. 1: ” … awe-ful and awful” – should be awesome; awe-ful means filled with awe; pitiful pun, Paul
* C2 – Reds -Col. 2, Para. 3: ” … admit he too expensive”; writer – you very careless, include the “is” after ‘he’
* same article: Col. 4, Para. 5: ” ….. Aroldis Chapman over $2 million apart.” – apart from what? Error repeated in same sentence
* C5 – Bearcats – Col. 1, Para. 1,2: 1st 2 sentences directly and completely contradict each other. Totally confusing.

* “This memo is like telling people to perform their own dentistry. It reeks of cheap.” (