Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

If all the unemployed sub-editors worked in the real world… #2

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Mail Online embraces the grocer’s apostrophe* – well, its one of those Lindsay Lohan storie’s

More evidence of the shocking moral and ethical decline of the national tabloid press – now the Mail Online has let its standards slip and has embraced the grocer’s apostrophe*. Apparently, Lindsay Lohan had her sights set on the Black Swan role that did for Natalie Portman. The Mail expresses surprise that “Lohan still thinks […]

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Modern linguistic madness #1: Coinstar counting machines

Evidence that modern life is rubbish, linguistically at least: spotted in the local Morrisons, a handy Coinstar coin exchange machine. Unlike most other commentators, I’m not taking issue with the ridiculous idea of paying a machine for the privilege of counting my money. But I believe we must stand up against the incoherence of its […]

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The Victorians set their subbing errors in stone

Anyone wanting to take us back to the solid Victorian values of the three “R”s in education should take pause. If you take a turn round the duck pond in Bath’s delightful Victoria Park, you’ll come across this handsome piece of Victorian sculpture – an urn commemorating the anniversary of the opening of the park […]

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Subbing tip #11: To err is human – but incorrect

Spotted everywhere, and now on the BBC, people going “err” when they want to indicate a certain uncertainty. This is odd – there’s a perfectly legitimate word for this, but it only has one “r”. Adding more because you think it makes it sound more hesitant has a certain logic, but is just plain wrong. […]

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Independent “i”: please employ more sub-editors

A few days ago I wrote, perhaps optimistically, that if “i” follows the Metro model, it’ll rely heavily on sub-editors to put the paper out, which should offer the benefit at least of raising standards of proofreading accuracy. How did that work out? Well, I didn’t catch the paper on its first day, but a skim […]

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Note to Bath & NE Somerset council: please proofread your roadsigns

It’s always fun for smug media professionals to flag up the illiteracy of local councils, so here’s a nice example from a road sign currently on display in Bath. Given the parlous state of the nation’s finances, I suspect it won’t be replaced for a while. But, I mean, it’s not as if you don’t […]

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Subbing tip #10: Where’s the question?

Normally, the Radio Times is the most rigorously proofread magazine on the newsstand, so it’s a shame that this bit of sloppiness slipped into print. From Stuart Maconie’s “Maconie’s People” column of 3-9 July 2010 comes this: Forget what they say about James Brown. Damon Albarn is surely the hardest working man in showbiz? Whether […]

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Modern media is rubbish #5: how to misrepresent the uSwitch broadband survey 2010

From early this month (because it’s been knocking around the house and I’ve only just got around to glancing at it before I put it in the recycling bin) – here’s the Guardian Money report on uSwitch’s annual broadband satisfaction survey. What’s wrong with this piece of simple reportage? It couldn’t be simpler, really. In […]

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Subbing tip #9: Faze or phase?

“Faze”: “to cause to be disturbed or disconcerted”. As in: the journalism lecturer was seldom fazed by the constant mis-spellings and poor grammar of his students. “Phase”: “a stage in a process of change or development”. As in: she wanted to work in the media, but luckily it was just a phase she was going through. This pairing can be a bit of a puzzle, but don’t be fazed. […]