Saturday, September 10, 2011

A comment on cutting copy

Here's a comment on my blog entry about tightening copy.

tom said...
Funny story from my newspaper days: we had zoned sections where the same article ran in several editions. My copy chief shared his duties with a deputy so one time he did not see how badly written a story was until it arrived in the last edition, which was my section.

He thought, "heck, I've got plenty of time before deadline, for once I'm going to cut all the fat out of this writer's copy" (the writer was notoriously flabby).

I'm the guy approving this story in the backshop. This was in the old days before pagination when the type came out in long strips. The composing room guy cuts it into place and guess what: it's four inches too short -- by that time the editor had used up all his deadline time so it was impossible to find a filler -- so we had to use the previous, flabby version to get the section to the press on time.

It's funny, tom, but I've gone through the same thing a few times, at least from the copy editing side. In my case, I've gotten a story for third (final) edition and have edited it. Then I had to move copy around a bit or enlarge a photo to make it fit. We were using pagination (this was the 1990s), and I was doing the editing and paginating, so fitting the story in wasn't a major problem.

Thanks for the comment.

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