I love reading news on the Internet. It’s free, there are myriad new stories each day and I can read about any issue from multiple points of view. What I hate about online reading is the lack of copy editing and proofreading done for stories.
Many of these stories are posted quickly, as time is certainly of the essence in the information age. But I still think there are too many errors for the medium. The issue isn’t just typos. I see too many repeated words and even entire sentences and paragraphs pasted twice into a story. These errors are jarring, and cause me to focus on the mistakes instead of the news.
A cursory review of articles before posting them is not too time consuming a task. When big stories are breaking, I often see headlines with only a snippet of the article attached, ending with “more to come.” These partial posts show the need to get a story out, but a greater need to confirm information and post a coherent article. I simply ask that a brief proofread go along with these fact checks.
I am disheartened to note the trend seems to be moving into the slower-paced areas of magazine and book publishing. They both publish on deadline, but aren’t expected to stay up-to-the-second with news like their Internet partners. I’ve read a local business magazine that doesn’t seem to have a copy editor at all. I shouldn’t be finding a dozen errors in one two-page spread.
I realize I am a word geek and I pay more attention to correctness in stories than many others might, but I can’t be the only one to notice errors. The repeated sentences and paragraphs are surely noticed by everyone who reads them. If you are trying to write a compelling narrative, having it interrupted by mistakes and duplications must be frustrating to writers, too.
So my advice, and my plea, to editors out there: please allow a few minutes for proofreading before publishing. Wordsmiths everywhere will say a silent thank you.