Tag Archives: proofreading

quick tip: editing reviews

A book review I wrote for an HCA corporate publication

This will probably have limited application, but I thought I’d pass on a tip for proofreading album, book or DVD reviews in layouts. Make sure you check the title that’s in the copy against the cover photo that accompanies the review. Often writers are working from an advance review copy and titles frequently change prior to release. Most likely the cover art is the most up-to-date and accurate information. Also check that everywhere the title is mentioned — in the heading as well as in the copy and photo — it is identical in spelling, punctuation, etc. I actually caught an inconsistency on my own review, which proves you can’t trust a writer even if she purports to be some kind of editing expert …

quick tip: punctuation in photo captions

Check out my meticulously edited captions in the first issue of M.

I’m starting to proof layouts for the next issue of M Music & Musicians, and one of my most common fixes is on photo captions. Magazines have varying styles when it comes to punctuating captions, but I like to follow a simple rule. If the caption is a complete sentence — “Green Day performed at the 2010 Grammys with the cast of American Idiot.” — it should have a period. But if it’s not a full sentence — “Green Day at the 2010 Grammys” — leave the period off. Sometimes people see this and cry, “Inconsistent!” because some captions have periods and others don’t. But I think it’s the lesser of several evils.

don’t cut the copy editors

A writer friend tipped me off to Sunday’s Washington Post ombudsman column, which addresses the increasing number of typos in the paper. The apparent cause? A combination of fewer copy editors on staff and more “multiplatform” duties for the ones who remain. As my friend said, it’s nice to see someone say on the record that staff cutbacks impact quality.

It’s funny — my first job was on a copy desk of three people. Every publication I’ve worked on since has relied on its writers and editors to catch mistakes, in lieu of even a single full-time copy editor. It can seem like an easy way to cut corners, but a publication does so at its own peril.