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Ending on a somber note

Because of an oversight at the paragraph factory, no video joke of the week has been posted. But there are several in the can, and I will announce when they resume.

You do have a word of the week, and it is seasonal: eleemosynary.

Earlier today I recorded an interview with Sheilah Kast of Maryland Morning at WYPR-FM, 88.1. You can tune in tomorrow morning between 9:00 and 10:00 to listen, or you can check the Maryland Morning website for a recording tomorrow afternoon.

One last thing, a somber one. The Winston-Salem Journal is losing its copy desk—all eighteen people—to a consolidation of resources in Media General. It is a tremendous blow to the paper: the loss of institutional knowledge, the loss of local knowledge, the loss of resources to ensure accuracy and clarity. The War on Editing has claimed another cluster of casualties.

There is a tribute to them on YouTube—thank you, Diego Sorbara, for flagging it—that is worth a few minutes of your time and attention. In fact, I insist. Attention must be paid.

Those of us still in the struggle salute our comrades. Ave atque vale.



Posted by John McIntyre at 3:41 PM | | Comments (4)


I love eleemosynary -- once I figured out what it meant.

I couldn't wait to drop that sucker into the planning and zoning stories of my misspent youth as a reporter.

Those darn copy editors kept on changing it, and sometimes would even whack direct quotes with the word in it.

One guy even accused me of asking my questions in such a way that the lawyer answering had to use the word.

The nerve!

Recording of interview with Sheilah Kast has been posted:

They are the short-term casualties of the war on editing (not that it makes them feel any better). The long-term casualties are the readers, who suffer the ill effects of a badly edited local "product," and the papers themselves, which will suffer the loss of such readers.

Thank you for posting this, John. It is sad, and short-sighted. I think Karen Parker said it best: "Any Newspaper's success is its credibility, not its bottom line." I don't think the right people heard her... I don't think the right people understand. But now the resignation of the executive editor, Carl Crothers, a month ago makes more sense. He probably didn't want to be running things when this axe fell, and didn't have enough clout to stop it. It is so sad.

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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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