Monday, March 01, 2010

weekly writing coach: online standards?

This should drive some typo-seeking traffic to magazine websites: A survey of 665 magazines coming out today in the Columbia Journalism Review found that many of them use looser standards (or none at all) when it comes to copy-editing and fact-checking content that appears only online.  This New York Times report on the survey spells out the data:
Copy-editing requirements online were less stringent than those in print at 48 percent of the magazines. And 11 percent did not copy-edit online-only articles at all. A similar trend held with fact-checking. Although 57 percent of the magazines fact-check online submissions in the same way they fact-check print articles, 27 percent used a less-stringent process. And 8 percent did not fact-check online-only content at all. (The other 8 percent did not fact-check either print or online articles.)
The need for speed is cited by some magazine editors, who suggest that being first is more important to revenues than accuracy. That's a short-sighted content strategy, considering that online content soon will be the primary source of information for consumers, not just an add-on.  Your coach has recommended a periodic review of your writing standards as part of your writing and editing process.  Do you need to add one specifically for your online content? Does your content get the same treatment online as offline? I'd like to hear your experiences in the comments.

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