Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Times on Editors

New York Times assistant managing editor Richard L. Berke answered some reader questions about the editorial process for the paper, including one about what the role of the editor is. The reader asks why do we need editors besides spelling and grammar?

Berke's answer is interesting. Here's a snippet:
"Now that I'm an editor, I have an even clearer perspective. First off, while some reporters produce perfect copy that barely needs editing, you should see some of the drafts from other reporters. I won't name any names, but let's just say that some of our most enterprising and dogged reporters aren't necessarily as talented in the writing department, while some of our most skillful stylists aren't always the most energetic reporters. Not everyone can do it all, especially since the reporting and editing process is demanding work under intense deadlines. (Plus, the workload is only getting more challenging, with reporters expected to contribute to our web site.)"
But his lenghty answer also included some odd editing. In the next paragraph he says "While most of the best ideas come from reporter ... " SHouldn't that says the reporter, or reporters?

Later he writes: "Even with out my own byline ... " Doesn't he mean without -- one word?

Some of his other answers to reader questions are odd, slightly off. Ironically, it may be that he didn't run his piece by another editor.

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