Words. Words are pretty flipping great aren't they? How would we think without them? As a writer and journalist, I'm obviously a big fan. I enjoy them in snappy dialogue in films and TV, the ones that turn humble books into real page-turners and those that make magazine features a joy to read. Sadly, not all words make up the beautifully written, finely constructed and error-free prose we all aspire to craft. Ever come across the clunky bit of dialogue that makes you groan, or a shocker of a typo in a national magazine that makes you wince?
Yes, we're human, and we're allowed to make mistakes. That's what editors and proofreaders are there for right?
But we live in an age where people demand news and content and they damn well want it now. Many major news sites have become glorified clickbait, goading users into clickthroughs of sensationalist worldwide stories. What that means is that today there is far more content around to steal your attention, and this means that all the blog posts, internet stories and Tweets out there are rife with grammatical and spelling errors. Unlike in print journalism, online publishing is a different beast altogether. The rules of proofing and subbing are very simple:
1. Always proofread work.
2. Never proofread your own work.
And yet because there is a need of getting that video of a cat barking like a dog to you first, often it means these thorough quality checks go out the window. Maybe an editor glances at it before hitting the publish button, a subber may spend more time thinking up a pun-worthy headline, but that error gets put online for potentially millions to see.
Arguable then, that proofreaders are needed now more than ever to assist in the fight against apostrophes in plurals, mistypes, repetitious text and horrible style.
Because there's nothing worse than spelling your client's name wrong on a business proposal, or spotting that absolute sitter of a typo on an online news item that gets viewed and shared by thousands, before you even have a chance to amend it.
But in this age of quantity over quality, our "human" mistakes can be shared and potentially go viral and cause much embarrassment and harm to your name, reputation and brand before you get to finish your morning coffee.
Have a news item or feature you need a second pair of eyes on? Give me a shout using the Contact button above.
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