I was invited to WYPR this morning for another chat with Sheilah Kast, which you will be able to hear tomorrow on Maryland Morning (88.1 FM, beginning at 9:00 a.m. EDT). You should also be able to find the interview at the Maryland Morning blog by the end of the day.
I didn’t go into much detail with Ms. Kast my first couple of weeks back at The Sun, which have done much to foster humility.
In the early Middle Ages the Danes harassed the English and pillaged their towns. In the modern era they accomplish the same result by exporting newspaper production software. Attempting to master the CCI NewsGate programming recently installed at The Sun has left me feeling a perfect prat. I have bungled a number of elementary tasks, have had to have common procedures explained to me repeatedly, and have very nearly gotten disastrously wrong information into print.*
If you are interested in learning humility, I recommend editing. It is, first of all, largely anonymous. (Quick, name the five most famous editors in history. Uh-huh, I thought so.) Second, though you may feel some temporary glow of superiority over identifying other people’s mistakes (there’s no a in misled if you mean the past tense), your own errors will be thrown into high relief. Third, when you wind up with people half your age patiently explaining things to you ...
In other matters:
New media, old technique: Andy Bechtel at The Editor’s Desk displays a particularly ripe example of the Huffington Post’s tendency to resort to cliche and overstatement in headlines.
Perspective: Despite all the hoo-hah in the news media about the exciting conclusion to Lost, the final episode ranked fifty-fifth in ratings of series finales, trailing Mr. Belvedere.
Oh, oh, oh, the OED: There is now a website on which you can have free access to considerable content from the Oxford English Dictionary. Dictionaries would be the better word, since you can choose either American or British versions. There is a premium service with additional features to which you can subscribe. It’s worth a look.**
Decoration Day: Christopher Corbett in a characteristically elegant little essay reminds us what the holiday this coming weekend was originally intended to be and encourages us to think about how we talk about war.
*Because nearly everyone else in the newsroom is struggling in similar fashion to comprehend NewsGate’s non-intuitive functions, I’ve been readily forgiven.
**Ben Zimmer, writing to point out a broken link, also clarifies that this site gives access to the modern British and American editions of the OED, not the complete historical dictionary, which is available through a separate subscription.