The Daily Edit
I used to write and edit a lot at my old job. I liked helping other people convey their messages more effectively and in fewer words. Simplicity, economy of words, and clear writing. We're all busy and moving fast; it always helps to have someone else take a look at our work.
Now that I'm a freelancer, I usually only work on my own writing. I miss working with other writers and discussing possible edits and alternate wording. I'm also worried that my skills will atrophy. So I decided to start a Daily Edit. My premise or plan was to look for possible edits or proofreading suggestions in the first 5 or so news stories I read daily. I'll probably change that to throughout the day. I want to keep it a fun exercise, not a scheduled task.
I also had a theory that got debunked on the first day. I thought that I would, with nearly 100% certainty, find an error or something that could be better worded in at least one of three randomly selected articles. I tried it today, and I was wrong. That was a pleasant surprise. But it would also make for a boring first post, so I decided to extend the number of articles for today only.
Why my pessimism? If you read the news online, you know the stories are often filled with errors and confusing wording. I don't blame the reporters. I don't think it's laziness. They're often typing on phones or laptops as they're racing to cover the next story. They're scrambling for an internet connection, cutting and pasting while they're on the phone or going through airport security. Difficult circumstances in an already difficult job. It's understandable that there's tolerance for minor errors. (I don't know about you, but I make all kinds of errors typing on these crazy mobile devices.) Combine that with smaller editorial staffs, and it's clear that there just aren't enough resources to get a second set of eyes on every article, at least not for the amount of time necessary for a quality review. The cost benefit analysis likely favors the idea that typos and mistakes can be fixed later.
So, even though I understand why the mistakes are made, it doesn't mean that I can't try to keep my editing / proofreading skills sharp by looking for them. I found a tiny mistake in the following article. I'm going to declare victory for today's Daily Edit and move on. (I'll no doubt make plenty of my own mistakes here - please feel free to point mine out. I like having that second set of eyes.)
Looks Like White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Got Hacked (Gizmodo, AJ Dellinger)
"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly informed his staff in an email that one of his personal email accounts hacked while he was still serving as Secretary of Homeland Security, confirming previous reports that suggested one of his phones may have been compromised."
- I'd add "was" between accounts and hacked. (Here's a link to the article)