The Future of News

Ryan Thornburg

Posts Tagged ‘copyediting

Copyediting and Computer Code

Every now and again I’ll find myself in a conversation with copyeditors about the future of their craft. One point I often bring up is that a big part of the job in online newsrooms needs to be overall QA of the site. And one of the most challenging workflows to support that is the copyediting of computer code. The example I always use to illustrate the point is the AP style on state abbreviations. If the Web developers define the abbreviation for California as “CA” instead of “Calif.” … well that’s something that should stick in the craw of every copyeditor until the code gets changed.

And now I have an actual piece of code to illustrate the example. (This comes from the code that runs OpenBlock — the much awaited open-source version of Adrian Holovaty’s EveryBlock. This isn’t meant to pick on that community. They’re doing difficult and needed work. And this could happen anywhere… which makes it a good anecdote.)

What’s the workflow in your newsroom for making sure that this gets changed to “Reporting Officers’ Names” before launch? Should the designers give editors a mock-up of all the static text elements (including words-as-graphics) on the page? Should the developers give editors printouts of all the tables that contain datafields that might get on the live site? Or do you just publish and come up with some sort of sampling scenario?

How does it work in your newsroom? How should it?


Ryan Thornburg is the author of the new online journalism textbook and newsroom manual, Producing Online News, available from CQPress.com

Written by Ryan Thornburg

November 10, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Computers, Humans and Journalism

I’d agree with this post from Andria Krewson — “technology will not replace human contact that reminds government employees to provide public information to the public.” Hopefully that elicits a big fat “no-duh” from most readers of this blog. But here’s how people and machines will work in newsrooms of the future …

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ryan Thornburg

January 6, 2009 at 11:04 am

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