Blogs, Copy Editing and The New York Times

Because I have clients in the publishing trade, clients that are beginning to embrace weblogs, when The New York Times announced that their Director of Copy Desks would be answering reader questions this week, I had to send one in:

I am interest in knowing whether New York Times weblogs are treated differently than standard news content when it comes to copy editing. One of the promises of blogs is that they “disintermediate” the connection between writer and reader. How do you make sure this disintermediation doesn’t result in unreadable copy, especially for writers who are otherwise excellent journalists but who suffer from poor spelling or grammar?

You can read her response — along with a bunch of other interesting questions and answers — on this week’s Talk to the Newsroom page.


Dominique's picture
Dominique on March 26, 2008 - 15:53 Permalink

Hi Peter:

The entire Q&A was a most interesting read, including Ms. Perlman’s reaction to the word “disintermediate”.

First time for me to comment on one of your posts but I’ve been reading you for some time now. Since joining the aggregator bandwagon, I seem to be enjoying my favourite bloggers even more because the updates come to me. I don’t have to go searching for them anymore!

A humble news/blog junkie

oliver's picture
oliver on March 26, 2008 - 16:57 Permalink

I liked her implicit reply—choosing not to change “I am interest” to “I am interested” in your question. The alternatives Ms. Perlman suggested for “disintermediate” (“streamline”, “close”) make me think she either didn’t see or appreciate Peter’s angle, which I’m guessing was that traditional publishing inevitably involves an intermediary, such as an editor like herself, changing what an author wants his or her readers to read, while blogging doesn’t. I only got around to that guess after commencing to complain about it here though, so I’m with Ms. Perlman that the word was reader-unfriendly in that context.