Monday, February 16, 2004

One more reason to scour that wire copy

Gawker shares a Dow Jones Newswires memo from Neal Lipschutz, senior editor for the Americas (what a great title), in which he bans the use of spell check.

You read that right: Dow Jones bans the use of spell check.
We have had too many incidents where the use of the spell-check program within our editorial production system (news station) led to our publication of errors on Dow Jones Newswires. Most typically, this has involved the inadvertent changing, based on a spell-check suggestion, of a proper name of a person or company into a non-related word. For this reason, spell-check should no longer be used by reporters or editors in the Americas when writing or editing for publication on Newswires.
Spell check is sketchy if you're haphazardly clicking "change all." But there are ways to mitigate the danger.

If you edit in a Word-based program, never click on the "ignore" or "ignore all" button with your mouse. While you're looking at the text, your mouse could be drifting to "change" or "change all."

Instead, learn the shortcuts: Most people using Word should be able to hit [alt][g] for "ignore all" and [alt][i] for "ignore." (I use "ignore all" for everything but correctly repeated words, such as The The or Duran Duran, when Word won't let you ignore all. Then you must just ignore.)

Perhaps our friends at Dow Jones don't have this privilege in editing software. Still, the errors must have been serious indeed for such a serious proclamation. One would hope there'd be a way around banning useful technology.


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