The Knight Ohio Program for Editing and Editing Education is providing free DVDs of "John Bremner: Guardian of the Newsroom." To get a copy (while they last) send an e-mail with your mailing address to Kim Lichtenwalter at kilichtenwalter(at)aol.com. Postage is also free.
Who is John Bremner?
Bremner taught copy editing at the University of Kansas from 1969 to 1985 and is legend in the profession. KU grads who took his courses are usually prize employees. Bremner was a nuts-and-bolts teacher and believed in the importance of etymology. (Just check out his great, if a little dated, book "Words on Words.")
His classroom tactics are legendary. He was known to open the window of his classroom and yell out: "Help! I'm surrounded by morons."
In an ASNE tribute to Bremner, who died in 1985, a former student said this:
Professor Bremner taught that copy editing is a noble undertaking, and that we have to find satisfaction in making things right, over and over and over again. He called it "the thrill of monotony," and he likened it to a child, being thrown into the air, who when she lands, squeals "Do it again ... do it again." He taught us to do it not for recognition or praise, but because we are the caretakers of the word.Every copy editor should know a little about John Bremner.
Here is his editing test, said to be the hardest you may ever take.
Here are some examples of bad headlines from his book "HTK."
Here you can buy a copy of "Words on Words."