Editing Oversights in the Technical Age


I have written before about the problem automated editing has caused for publications, although it has usually been about something I came across in a publication like Parade Magazine. This time I was reading a New York Time Magazine article about the current crop of presidential candidates from last summer and was surprised by a comment regarding food co-ops.  Now I understand that the author was just making an attempt at humor and that the reference was really not relevant to the article in any important way.  Still, this particular publication is usually well written and edited so I was a bit taken aback to see such an old stereotype perpetrated.  The comment in question is this:

A Barbour nomination would be the rough equivalent of the Democrats’ nominating Howard Dean, if Dean also happened to be a draft-dodging transsexual owner of a vegan food co-op.

Really? Ignoring the rest of the comment’s offensiveness, just the fact that the author or editors would not understand that, by definition, one person does not own a co-op is quite surprising. Anyway, in this day of automated spell checkers and editors, I have become accustomed to seeing mistakes and oversights in prominent publications. The New York Times Magazine is usually not one of these as it is very well edited. I hope this is not a sign of carelessness to come for this publication.

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Will Sig
1 Robin Henderson

I don’t think a Howard Dean nomination would be the end of the world, either.


Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit


2 Will

Heh – I was so focused on the editorial mistakes etc, that I did not even think about the context. Not sure exactly why but I just found this offensive and out of place in a publication such as the NYT magazine. And if a married, middle aged, traditional, straight, Caucasian, guy found it an offensive, editorial oversight, it really must have been! Speaking of editing, was that too many commas? 😉


3 Binky

It seems mistakes are becoming more and more common as they downsize and cut back on staff. Who needs a real editor when you have spellcheck? Then and than have recently become synonyms.


4 Will

Not to mention their and there!


5 Tony McGurk

And night & knight. Goodknight now.


6 Tony McGurk

Especially as time goes on we see more kids who use computers with spell checker at school instead of a dictionary coupled with their brains moving into the workplace. We have a young 18 year old at work & I am often astounded at the way he often spells things.

Now I’ve said that I hope I haven’t made any spelling or grammar errors. I can’t see any red squiggly underlines so I must be ok…


7 Lindsey H. Rojas

Sometimes mistakes are just OK, especially if it makes people happy. But the problem is if the mistakes will hurt people, that is another story. 🙂


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