Thursday, July 07, 2005

Epicrain, en francais

A friend and former colleague of mine, Angie Wu, is responsible for one of my favorite copy-editing stories.

One night we were all sitting around telling tales about gaffes we'd made or ways we'd embarrassed ourselves on the job. Angie's was the best. It combined so many elements of what makes our jobs tough -- editing an unfamiliar topic, trying to build on something you do know to make it through, realizing too late that your ignorance is obvious ...

She's started a blog and has retold her 2000 Tour de France story there.
Back in 2000, I was an inexperienced copy editor trying to keep my head above water on the sports copy desk at The Dallas Morning News. I was editing a Tour de France story whose lead described "an epicrain-soaked journey."

Being relatively new to cycling lingo, I figured "epicrain" (pronounced in snooty French accent) was some term I didn't know (a la peloton). And I proceeded to call the reporter, who was in France, and ask him about it, all smug about my flawless pronunciation. As the words were coming out of my mouth, "So what is this epicrain ...?" I realized that, duh, the words had been run together in the e-mailing of the story. *Ahem* "epic rain-soaked journey," thank you very much. Quel horreur!
She tells another story, and then a co-worker offers one in the comments. Take a gander, and feel free to share one of your own here in the comments.


At 1:03 AM, July 08, 2005, Blogger Peter Fisk said...

Very early in my editing career, I wrote this headline on a calendar-type item:

Blind group looking for volunteers.

The slot didn’t catch it.

At 7:40 PM, July 09, 2005, Blogger Niko Dugan said...

While still in school, I read a story about a same-sex marriage bill in Massachusetts and how lawmakers were struggling with some of the language. My original headline:

Same-sex marriage bill raises questions

didn't fit, so I thought I'd find a way to shorten the word "questions."

Same-sex marriage bill raises queries

Thankfully, the slot caught it. I didn't realize there was even a problem until she read it out loud.

At 10:17 AM, July 12, 2005, Anonymous Robert Knilands said...

I once wrote a headline for a Nation/World brief that read like so:

Clinton: Global affairs vital

I changed it, though.

At 5:47 PM, July 13, 2005, Blogger cl said...

We decided to stop labeling our mayor as Ed "Boog" Highberger and just call him Boog, as he wished. I was in a hurry and called him:


Somebody caught it on the proof, thank god.

At 4:45 PM, May 20, 2007, Anonymous Robert Knilands said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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