If you wrote a piece for the Huffington Post entitled Do You Really Need an Editor at a Publishing House?, you'd make a strong case, right? The answer, as evidenced by Knopf editor Carole Baron, is a resounding absolutely.
Besides the fact that no good editor in their right mind would tell someone trying to make a coherent argument for their job to write a post so explicitly arguing for their job, they wouldn't let them title it Do You Really Need an Editor at a Publishing House? nor would they let them publish it on the Huffington Post. Where content mostly goes to die. Unless someone else picks it up for being extraordinary in some way, which Baron's post most certainly is.
- Clunky Prose: It starts in the lede.
Do you really need an editor at a publishing house?
I am really annoyed. All this talk about digital.
Not to nitpick, but why not? Besides the fact that the text itself is pretty misshapen on the site—a good web editor would've taken care of that—the first sentence is also the title of the post (redundancy), the second sentence is a wooden declarative that could simply be spiced up by making a contraction out of "I" and "am," and the third sentence is a jagged fragment that doesn't explain what the "talk" is nor what kind of "digital" she's referring to. Yet most of you are cognizant individuals, and you know she's referring to digital media, and that the "talk" of which is some idle chatter we're probably going to learn about. Assuming readers can make it past the first three sentences.
- Clunky Pronouns:
The writer said: "Why not? There is no editing anymore." Not only is that not true, but it certainly didn't understand the complex role of the editor in a publishing house.
First of all, what kind of braindead company is Baron keeping? Jesus. Also, I know editors often think of writers less as people and more like book-writing-creatures who cost money, but referring to one as "it" seems mildly unnecessary. That is, of course, unless Baron was talking about the writer's statement, which can only "understand" something in the figurative or poetic sense. Which she already lost credit for in the first sentence, regardless of which, that intention just patently isn't the case. Finally, who refers to their own job as complex? Lady, you're not a machinist.
- Misspellings and Title Form:
Jonathon Gallassi's: "There Is More to Publishing Than Meets the Screen" in the New York Times, January 2, 2010, expressed it logically and eloquently.
"Jonathon Gallassi" has a name, and it isn't spelled like that. It's Jonathan Galassi. He's not exactly a name you want to spell wrong, as he's the the President and Publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Also, New York Times should be italicized, and from a later sentence in the piece, "short changed" is one word.
"And I am happy to say that as many as there are who complain, there are just as many who acknowledge the good work that editors can and do for a writer."
As many what, exactly? People? Penguins? If they're penguins, they don't acknowledge what an editor "can and do for a writer" so much as they acknowledge what an editor can do for a writer.
Credit where credit's due: we cribbed this item from a tipster...who wrote "makes the care for" instead of "makes the case for" in their original tip. And please, like we don't have our fair share of typos on this site even with an editor. There's probably one in this post! The difference between Baron and me, though, is that I'm not trying to make a case for an editor. My life is a case for editors. Ryan Tate put it best earlier this evening via email:
Who will edit the editors? And who will edit the people who call for editing of the editors?
Everything must eventually be published via wiki, is my point. A wiki that no one is qualified to edit.
Then again, she could just be playing with our heads, as this might be part of an elaborate "meta" campaign for her job, in which case: golden.
But that probably isn't the case. She's probably just an editor who needs a good editor. Or a good writer.