What I've learned
On Sept. 2, I will mark my 21st anniversary at The Sun. It is remarkable how little I’ve learned over this span, but there are a few salient points to pass on.
The paper was always better 10 years ago. (The late Harold A Williams’ The Baltimore Sun, 1837-1987 contains a reference from the 1880s to The Sun as “a once-great paper.”)
Never, never, never, never, never mess with the crossword puzzles.
The reader is always right, though not infrequently wrong.
The worst errors will show up in the big type. (Like pubic safety deputy in a headline in the Maryland section on Aug.8.)
To a reporter, a 50-inch story is, by definition, twice as good as a 25-inch story.
The dumber the comic strip, the fiercer the loyalty.
A reporter, seeing a copy editor’s deletion of an adjective or prepositional phrase, will react as if a chapter has been ripped from the Pentateuch.
The only time the assigning desk will move the copy on time is on a day before a national holiday.
Leave the crossword puzzles alone.
No reader cares as much as a thin belch about how hard you worked on the story or photo or headline.
The printer will run out of paper just as you attempt to proof Page One.
A new editor will change everything. The next one will change everything back.
The name with the CQ mark (meaning that the reporter has checked the spelling and it is correct as stands) must always be checked.
The reader who spots the error you let into print after you caught 19 others will write to ask if anyone on the staff has been to college.
There is no such thing as too much coffee.
Don’t even think about touching the crossword puzzles.