Skip to comments.Washington Post Blames Increased Typos On Staff Cuts, SEO
Posted on 01/18/2010 1:24:47 PM PST by My Favorite Headache
In Sundays column by Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander, the increase in typos and other copy editing errors stood trial. Apparently, angry letters have started coming more frequently, wondering, for example, If they dont care about basics like grammar and spelling, how much do they care about factual accuracy? Alexander served up the standard Old Media 2010 answer: our staffs have shrunk! But he also had a bizarre new scapegoat, namely, search engine optimization. Huh?
Through buyouts and voluntary departures, the number of full-time copy editors declined from about 75 to 43 between early 2005 and mid-2008, he explained. There was another round of buyouts last year, but it hasnt yet resulted in a sharp decrease in the number of copy editors. Well then, what could it be?
The answer may be less about staffing levels and more about the changing duties of copy editors. Gone are the days when they primarily detected errors and smoothed prose for the next days newspaper. Now they must also operate in an online environment where search-engine optimization is a key goal. That requires new skills and time-consuming additional duties.
That is to say, writing a Google-able headline is the reason that, A story about an Arlington National Cemetery burial described a soldier wearing shiny black boats (instead of boots). Sounds dubious. Sure, SEO is an added pressure, but does it really block ones ability to differentiate breaks and brakes? Though its true, in a newsroom, as behind the scenes at a website, were all busy. Were now multiplatform, said the multiplatform editing chief Anne Ferguson-Rohrer. But this explanation is neither specific enough, nor comforting.
And Alexanders solution is equally vague and confusing. This week, The Post will begin search-engine optimization training for the entire newsroom. Front-end help from reporters and other staff should ease the burden on copy editors, he wrote.
First lesson: cute babies, cat video, Lindsay Lohan, Twilight, am I sick?, nip slip, Lady Gaga, hot Megan Fox. Now clean up that paper!
By the way, see my tagline. Please.
If they dont care about basics like grammar and spelling, how much do they care about factual accuracy?
***Washington Post Blames Increased Typos On Staff Cuts..**
What excuse do they have for non-reporting on the labor union bribe, their own lies, propaganda and leftist bias?
Why did Drudge succeed? Early innovator, great headlines. It wasn’t his search engine optimization.
Racial preferences? Oops, I meant affirmative action?
Last time I checked, MS Word has spell-check.
“Don’t blame us for an increasingly poor product. It’s you stupid consumers fault for not buying as much as you used to. We have to cut costs *somewhere* besides management...”
Anne Ferguson-Rohrer at left, above. Straight out of central casting.
A Time magazine column this week had a similar story about the NYT. The columnist whined that a friend had told him she was cancelling the Times because they couldn’t even spell.
Liberals eating each other now? I thought I'd never live to see the day!