The term “Copy editors” conjures up images of wire-framed bespectacled people hunched over their desks furiously scratching and swiping with their pencils (always pencils, never pens). Columbia Journalism Review brought this interesting and humorous news to us in their article, “Revenge of the copy editors: Grammar pros find internet stardom.”

Copy editors of today will likely not fit into this category, and they may not be using a pencil. One example is John E. McIntyre, the night content production manager at the Baltimore Sun. McIntyre is one of a unique breed of editors of style and usage who have turned journalistic copy-desk expertise into a fan-based online following.

McIntyre had a fairly popular blog for more than a decade. Last summer he began producing web commentaries. Now he has more than 30 with subjects that have ranged from the traditional to the not-so-traditional.

Who knew copy editors could be funny? Anyone interested in grammatical, spelling, and punctuation standards will remember the unexpected 2003 success of Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Copy Editing.

And let’s not forget “Grammar Girl” Mignon Fogarty, a former technical writer who now holds the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Media Entrepreneurship at the University of Nevada. In 2006, her series of podcasts fed the grammar geek in all of us.

Melody K. Smith

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