Diary of a hot-and-cold copy editor

Dear Diary,

Sept. 30, 2013 — Working at a newspaper’s copy desk is already so much fun! I learned so much today about AP style. For instance, “convince” and “persuade” are not synonymous. How can even the most seasoned of copy editors possibly wrap their head around so many intricate rules? And how do they write and fit such accurate headlines so quickly? I aspire to be like them. (P.S. Copy editors are hilarious assholes. I love it.)

Oct. 6, 2013 — So it turns out that I’ve been using commas and hyphens incorrectly my entire life. I’m illiterate.

Jan. 16, 2014 — The Muggles have no idea how taxing this profession is. I’d like to see a UC Berkeley engineering student fit an obituary headline for a guy named Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen, a campus otorhinolaryngologist (yes, that’s a real thing), in a box about 1 inch wide, because that’s basically my job. It’s harder than quantum physics, that’s for sure.

April 24, 2014 — I have been unexpectedly promoted. By the power vested in me, I can now pronounce stories “seconded” (ready for publication, for all those new to news).

May 3, 2014 — It is midnight. I am just leaving the office. Yes, you read that correctly.

Nov. 25, 2014 — Cannot. Stop. Spotting. Errors. Everywhere. This is madness — no, this is syntax.

Dec. 15, 2014 — Update on writing and fitting headlines: How is this still not easy?!

Feb. 8 — Joking about potential headlines is all fun and games until someone suggests, “People suck: Let’s hold a panel about it.” Then you realize things have gone too far and you need to start pitching legitimate ideas for a legitimate newspaper.

March 3 — “Due to” and “because of” are not interchangeable. I’ve been at this job for about a year and a half and only just realized this. I quit.

April 21 — I hate my job. Every day, it forces me to learn more and more about how ridiculously little I know about grammar. You know what, no — I just hate grammar in general.

April 22 — Correction: Tuesday’s diary entry inaccurately stated I hate my job and grammar. In fact, I love it. It’s turned me into an insufferable know-it-all, the kind of person who can’t read a study guide unless every comma and colon is in its proper place. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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