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A good run

When in 2006 I celebrated my 20th anniversary at The Baltimore Sun, my wife, Kathleen Capcara, made a magnificent cake for the copy desk and wrote on it, "20 to life."

I did not anticipate then an early parole.

Yesterday, the grim economics of the newspaper business made April 28 my last day at the paper. It was, as they say in theatrical circles, a good run. I had more than two decades of the company of some of the smartest and funniest people I have ever known, working for supportive editors of the paper, and in all that time we struggled day after day to make The Sun a formidable newspaper. We succeeded more often than we failed, and no man has been more fortunate in his colleagues than I have.

But when the curtain falls, you are supposed to get off the stage, and this is my final post at I expect to continue blogging elsewhere, but you will no longer find me at my post here. In addition to colleagues who have been great fun, I have had the good fortune to collect a remarkable corps of loyal readers, and I salute you all with gratitude and affection. You have enriched my life.

Posted by Mary Hartney at 5:38 AM | | Comments (107)


Say it ain't so!

Oh, Mr McIntyre, I am very sorry to hear that. I hope to find you in your next incarnation. Best wishes (trite, I know, but sincere)

Let me know where you're going and I'll link to you. We're going to miss you.

Sorry to see you go, John. Please keep us up to date on the future blog... language nerds need a home.

Very sorry to see you move on. Your posts were always interesting, thought provoking and enjoyed. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

Another great loss for The Sun. Bon voyage, John. We'll look forward to finding your wit and insights elsewhere.

I am so sorry. You have enriched my life, too.

There's a typo in this post. Almost fitting.

You will be missed. Godspeed and I look forward to seeing your future posts.

Sorry to see this end and I hope to see you elsewhere in blogsphere. Keep me posted, please.

Good Luck JMc! You will be missed.

Let us know over at the Sandbox where you resurface!

You still have your wife, your talents (including the seemingly invaluable ability to blog) and people who will look for your thoughts wherever you offer them, John.


(an e-mail has been sent to your non-Sun address)

Rank injustice.

Mr McIntyre

What will we do without Wordville?

Please let us know where you blog in the future.

I am without words, except to say: Best of luck to you. And: Well done, sir.

Your instructional videos were so great.

Sorry to hear about this. Good luck and god bless!

This is sad news indeed, and it represents the loss of a voice that I will miss. I hope that Mr. McIntyre will reemerge somewhere else, but I would suggest that the Sun will feel the loss keenly, as it spirals ever downward along with its fellows. I have said more here:

A blow upon a bruise.

John, sorry to read about this. I'll be keeping in touch. Hope you take the blog private. It's been a great resource.

That is certainly a regrettable error on the part of the Sun.

A sad day.

Thank you for teaching some and attempting to teach others.

So sorry to hear the news.

Need any more proof that the newspaper industry is doomed?

When they're firing people of John's caliber it means they don't even know where their assets lie anymore.

Your good humor, defense of high-quality editing and graceful farewell have been inspiring. All the best to you. I'm looking forward to your next venue.

John, I really hope you do continue blogging elsewhere (and perhaps you can move this content to your new venue?). I have enjoyed your observations and especially your writing style and would hate for your talents as a writer to go to waste.

As for your talents as a copy editor, this is a sad day for the Sun. There aren't many good days for newspapers lately.

This is a big loss for the Sun, its readers and anyone else who understands the value of editing. I look forward to reading your thoughts on language and journalism elsewhere.

I'm sorry to hear it, though I trust you will recover gracefully.

I've enjoyed your posts immensely, and YDS has become a "read-right-now" entry in my RSS reader.

I look forward to your writing and thoughts elsewhere.

What a remarkable loss.

I had the good fortune once of attending an ACES regional workshop which you led. It was memorable.

Let us know where you'll be blogging. I know I will remain an avid reader.

Sorry to hear that you're going.

Best of luck for the future, and keep up the standards.


Mr. McIntrye,

As a longtime (silent) reader of your blog, I thank you sincerely for enriching MY life with your wit and wisdom. Best to you in all future endeavors -- I will be on the lookout for your next project.

Best regards,

Just realized I forgot to say the most important part: I'm very sorry that you got laid off and hope that you'll be OK, whatever you do next.

And you have enriched our lives; I hope you'll continue to do so, from a new address, very soon. Keep us posted, please, and meanwhile, thanks for the good times.

I'm so sad -- for you, for The Baltimore Sun, and for all of us whose days were made a bit brighter because of your efforts. You will be missed. Best wishes.

We will sorely miss you!

You will be missed, as will be the work you have done to make the Sun a better paper than it would have been without you. Good luck.

Your blog has been the only reading material my boyfriend and I shared in two years. We're sorry to see you go.

A classy way to exit the stage. Best wishes to you and your family.

You have enriched my life and sense of humor in the workplace more than you can ever know.
I'm so sorry for this turn of events.
I'm speechless and remain a fan.

-- Kathleen in Missoula, Montana

Of all the unfortunate staff reductions at the Sun, this last round of exceptional editors seems the unkindest -- and the most unimaginable. They've obviously thrown in the towel on trying to produce a decent product.

Good luck to you, John. It's tough out here for freelance journalists, but a man of your talents should do just fine.

Nooooooo! I can't believe I'm coming out of lurkdom only to say goodbye. You have enriched my days more than you know. Godspeed.

Mr. McIntyre:

You have been and will remain an inspiration to this young copy editor.

Best of luck on your next edition.

Dennis Choquette

I am very sorry to hear this, dumbfounded in fact at the Sun's idiocy. Good luck with whatever you decide to do next. And I do hope you will continue with your enlightening and entertaining posts. I'll be looking for you in cyberspace.

Best of luck in your further endeavors. While I never posted on this blog, I always enjoyed reading it. I also appreciated your contributions to the sandbox. I truly wish you the best.

I would never have anticipated that the ramblings of a copy editor might become one of the blogs I looked forward to the most during my lunchtime browsing at my desk. You'll be missed...primarily as a blogger, but I suspect I'll find myself noticing your absence from the newsroom too. Best of luck in all your future travels; I look forward to catching up with you when you find a new home to share your thoughts.

Mr. McIntyre,
I am deeply sorry and so sad. Although I never posted in Wordville, as I was too intimidated, I enjoyed reading your blog and learned much from you. Thank you for visiting with us on the D@L blog; we will miss your witty and always beautifully phrased comments.

I hope you will let EL and the rest of the Sandboxers know how to find your new blog when you are ready to enrich our lives again.

Very best wishes to you and your wife.

For all the bad industry news that Romenesko contains each day, it's not often I directly know the people involved.
Today's not one of those days.
It's not just the practice of fine journalism the Sun is losing, but also the teaching of it, as I know and live out since taking your class at Loyola.
The only silver lining, I guess, is that you expect to continue blogging elsewhere.

I'm sorry, I thought you said this was you last post. I must've misunderinterpretated it..... Really? Can't believe it. I have enjoyed this blog and learned an awful lot from you. Best of luck in the next stage of your life. Please let us know where to find you.

Thank you.

Thanks for the wonderful blog, and good luck in the future!

I can't believe this. As with an earlier poster, I would never have guessed that a blog about copy editing would be one of the two or three things I saved to read during lunch when I could savor it. The video jokes and pronunciation guides (my favorite) are outstanding. My wife started referring to John as my "new best friend" because I kept bringing up things I had read on the blog in conversation. It ain't right.
All the best to John during this transition and I too will eagerly await the new blog (which I hope will be as similar as possible to this one).

When a friend told me about this yesterday, I didn't believe it for a moment. It had to sink in over the course of the day.

You have offered us much, and continue to have more. Please let me know if you need a space to set up shop; I will happily share my space or help you set up a new one.

Thanks for everything, and here's to many great returns.

Good heavens, that is sad. Please let me know where you land. Even though I haven't participated much, I read your thoughtful posts and consider carefully what you say. It would be a loss not to do that anymore.


Hearing that a newspaper has laid off John McIntyre is like hearing that Noah has laid off the one crew member who knows the most about caulking.

Although I've never had the privilege of conversing with you in person, I think I've attended at least most of your "seances" and greedily grabbed your handouts for the folks at my paper.

I've been linking to "You Don't Say" ever since I started a blog. I hope that someday soon I'll be linking to another blog by you.

In the meantime, please take care. You're a class act.

My father was an ex-Sun man and he would be spinning in his grave to see what's happened to the paper. You will be deeply missed both on the paper and here in the ether. All of the very best of luck to you.

Mr. McIntyre,

Your blog has been one of my favorite blogs, and not just because I'm a copy editor. Your writing and videos were always entertaining, thoughtful and educational. To let you go was the worst decision The Sun could have made, especially now, when presumably they want to try to convince people of the need to read The Sun.

Please let us know where your new blog will be. I wish you all the best, and know whatever you do next will be as great as always.

John I'm sorry to welcome you to the club of former Sun employees who have followed this path. I wish you luck!

I'm so sorry. I'll miss coming here for your blogging every day. Hope when you land somewhere else you'll continue your posting.

John, I'm sorry that you're joining several of my friends as former Sun employees, but I'm confident that there's more great work to come from you. Wherever you go, I'll be a reader.

John, I'm in shock even though we're all aware of the tendencies of this era (false economies included). I don't think I've missed one of your posts since I discovered this blog. Can you make a book of it? The language and the media continue to evolve, but a work of grace and humor should endure.

How terribly unfortunate. We'll miss you, Prof. McIntyre.

I have appreciated everyone's support at The Sun since you hired me, but none more so than yourself. Your advice, guidance and support made my time at the paper enjoyable even in the face of continued cuts.

I never imagined you would become part of those cuts, and it's a sad day. The Sun has just lost a great journalist and a great mentor. I am left wondering when the realization will hit that this was a terrible, terrible move.

I hope some day I'll be able to continue reading your blog; I am reluctant to remove the link from my bookmarks bar without a suitable replacement on hand because of the depressing void it will leave.

Thanks for everything.


John, I'm very sorry to see you go. I enjoyed working with you and reading your excellent blog (though not commenting until now, alas). Please let us know somehow where we can find you in the future. Good luck!

Oh, drat. I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago and have treasured it more with every post.

Thank you and best wishes.

This is truly a sad sad about "regretting an error." Best wishes to you, and please keep in touch with the sandbox.

John, you and this blog will be missed.

I hope the Sun and other papers realize the value of language. It seems obvious that the print world would understand its value, but when I see actions like this it is hard to know if they really do.

And to think, I only found your blog last month. It has quickly become one of my favorites. Please do let us know when and if you find another outlet.

I wish you good luck and hope the Tribune Company's executives take a flying leap at a rolling doughnut.

Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside-out, you sockdologizing old mantrap!

An inestimable loss for the Sun and for your readers here. I'm glad you overcame your misgivings about Twitter; at least we'll have @johnemcintyre to keep us on our toes and in the know.

Sorry to here that you're leaving. It will be a real shame to have to face the murder of the language without you trying to stop it.

Sorry to hear that you're leaving. It will be a real shame to have to face the murder of the language without you trying to stop it.

To show how bad it is: I almost wrote "here", not "hear". Yikes!

I'm sorry to hear this news for a couple of reasons. First, I'm sorry you got undeservedly canned. Second, I'm sorry that economic pressures are causing newspapers to lower quality while increasing the price—a cycle that must end in extinction.

Nevertheless, I have faith that you will end up someplace more satisfying. Not only because of "karma, man, everything works out for the best," but because we need people like you, and that need will somehow express itself for you with another path.

When you do re-emerge as a blogger, please let me know. You have my e-mail.

Good riddance, John. As I've said for a couple of years, you weren't much more than a caricature. You were the image of a fossil who needed to be swept out of the newsroom.

I find it a splendid coincidence that it happened right before the pointless A"CE"S conference.

Adios, Johnny! You be careful out among those English!


You have been wronged and there is no excuse for it.

I rarely agree with the editorial page at The Sun but it's OUR paper. I have to believe that these decisions are being made in Chicago and that's just not right.

Thank you for your good work and God Speed.


I am a loss of words--please pick up your conversation in another online venue soon! And thank you for your wonderful writing over the years. You deserve better.

Many conversations about grammar and style have benefited from your input. I'm glad to know you will continue helping out.

I'll watch my twitter feed to find out where. Cheers.

Oh no!

I just found you a couple of days ago! I hope that a) the blog entries are kept public on this site and b) that you continue to blog elsewhere where it is accessible because I will certainly dig through the archives here and follow you.

Thank you,

Marisa Wikramanayake

How sad, Mr. McIntyre. As the daughter of a newspaper reporter who has been reading a daily newspaper since I was five, I am bereft as I see something so important just wither away. I have enjoyed your comments on the D@L blog and hope you will continue to post. Best of luck,

Mary Roby

Mr. McIntyre, I'm so sorry to hear this! Thank you so much for letting me take the Sun's editing test several years ago, and for all you've taught me, James and everyone else. Your wit, sanity and compassion will be missed.
I wish you all the best!

Mr. McIntyre, as one of your younger readers, I want you to know that the advice you've been giving here has been very helpful (and generally pretty entertaining as well) throughout my first couple of years at college. I'm looking forward to seeing you start a new blog elsewhere on the web. Thanks for the jokes, the grammar, the stories.

You will be missed.

My heart hurts.

(Although even so, I have a niggle about the metaphor: Isn't it courteous to stay on stage after the curtain falls at least long enough to know whether you'll be called back for another bow? You know, so the audience doesn't have to wait for somebody to run down to your dressing room? Oh, never mind. Please forget I said anything.)

Mr. McIntyre:

I'm so sorry to hear this news and I hope you'll collect all our email addresses and send us your new blog link when you have one, or let the Sandbox know, at least. I wish you and your family all the best: you and your blog community have provided endless hours of entertainment and insight that will be sorely missed.

Dear Mr. McIntyre,

Your blog has become part of my morning routine, and your reflections have been part of my informal (but valuable) graduate education in editing. You'll be sorely missed. Best wishes and I hope to see a different blog from you very soon. (I like the book idea that somebody else had.)

Very truly yours,
North Carolina

A fine time for words to fail me. Well, except these: Blanton's Single Barrel. Here's to the craft and your stewardship of it.

A condemnation from Robert Knilands = a badge of honor. More than 60 comments here, close to a hundred on Facebook and a dozen or more on twitter, and just one ill-natured one to date.

What! No more parry and thrust over Wikipedia? Even though I disagreed with your position, I enjoyed every minute spent in the discussion. You will be missed.

I am 58. I was born in Baltimore and, except for college, have lived my entire life here. A centerpiece of that life was the Baltimore Sun. Alas, it is no more.

Rbert Knilands,
You seem to get so much joy from anothers misfortune. Sad, so sad.

Many thanks for all the useful posts here; I hope to see more from you soon. Best of luck, Mr. McIntyre.

This breaks my heart. Good luck.

I have been following this blog for the past several weeks and found it to be the most entertaining, thoughtful, and sane forum on the Web for discussions on lanaguage and editing. Thank you for that, and along with so many other commenters, I hope to follow the next blog as well.

Wear your badge of honor proudly, John. You praise me with your words.

But the bottom line is the same: You are out of the newsroom. This move took years longer than it should have, but it happened.

Enjoy the A"CE"S conference.

You've enriched my writing as well as my life. I hope to catch up with you again. Meanwhile, it's sad to watch the setting of the Sun.

Thanks John for teaching me something new with each of your posts. You're the best kind of teacher: someone who is extremely competent, loves what they do, and who has that rare ability to truly inspire others with their knowledge. You will be very missed here. Do please let us know where you re-emerge on the web. Thanks for the great times and the education.

It's The Sun's loss and ours. All best wishes. Please hurry back online... yours is the only blog I can share with my mom.

I'm very sorry to see that this has happened. I hope to read you again in a new location.

When I saw my guest post on Dining@Large today, I realized that it contained a little tribute to John McIntyre. I wrote it more than a week ago before any of this was known. It was a little biittersweet to see but it's yet another bit of evidence that John was a great life force on the blogs and someone with a great sense of humor too,

What??!! Catastrophe! This was my Number One blog! Where else to turn for erudition, wit, experience, common sense, and a soupçon of wackiness? Thanks and very best wishes.

What a shame. Thank you for a marvellous blog, and the best of luck in your next adventures, wherever they may be.

Phew. Startling news, John. Greatly enjoyed the blog and will miss it. Good luck and good fun in the future from a sub at the (London) Times.

I am so sorry. Please keep blogging -- that way you enrich the world of reading, writing and editing, which is so much bigger than the readership of any single newspaper. Very best wishes for your next sentence.

Some greatest hits from Mr. McIntyre:

"Safe haven" is a pleonasm, from the Greek "pleonasmos," meaning ... "full of it."

"The process by which this story got to the copy desk was not 'editing,' it was peristalsis."

"We know this is 'beautiful writing' because it is filled with adjectives, jammed together for our delectation. It is, as Wodehouse would say, a copulation of cliches."

I have dozens more, but it's hard to, uh, see right now.

I've so enjoyed this column--thanks for the fun. I look forward to reading your new blog, too.

Lots of good people being laid off on this side of the Atlantic as well, damn it.

Good Lord! I go away for one week and this is what happens. It's their loss, mon cher. You are what they would call in Hebrew shomer lashon—guardian of the language. The media and the country in general need more thinkers like you, not fewer. See you over on and your many, many fans.

One more thing: After seeing the list of casualties over at The Daily Muck, it's quite evident that they let go whom they did for budgetary reasons. I also have been the victim of a layoff where HR instructed departments to get rid of long-timers with high salaries and replace them with contractors, with no benefits offered, or with fresh college grads whose entry salaries could have been half mine. If it's any consolation, John, Ann LoLordo, and the other long-timers get a small, if Pyrrhic, victory that way.

Mr. McIntyre,

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Though I am long removed from your copy editing class at Loyola, the wit and wisdom you offered has stayed with me through the years.

New York City

I'm sorry to hear this, but I wish you all the best, and thank you for all the entertainment and support you've provided us through You Don't Say. I've just begun reading the new blog and will be following it with pleasure.

I received 1 st personal loans when I was not very old and it supported me a lot. Nevertheless, I need the car loan as well.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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