The Washington Post needs copy editors

It seems a daily occurrence at the Washington Post: a headline typo here, and a factual error there. Sometimes, I have had to read a sentence several times to even start understanding it. This is because the Washington Post has few (if any) copy editors. I suspect reporters are being asked to edit their own work, which is never a good idea, especially with quick turnarounds. You can edit your own work, if you can look at it with “fresh eyes” after a day or so. In the fast-paced, 24/7 news cycle, there is little time to look at writing with fresh eyes.

I could not believe the mistake I found in an article in today’s Post. It’s about the Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival, which took place on Saturday at National Harbor in Maryland. The story appeared in the Post’s Local Living section  and had the headline “All smiles on a crab-filled festival day in Inner Harbor.”

The Inner Harbor is in Baltimore and the event took place at National Harbor. Then, in the body of the article, the writer says the event took place in Baltimore, except it didn’t. See for yourself here:

Washington Post article

Copy editors don’t just catch grammatical mistakes and typos, they check for accuracy too. Clearly, this article was not checked at all. A cursory search (and plain common sense) would have told anyone reading this article that the event took place at National Harbor and not in Baltimore.

Shame on the Washington Post! These mistakes make the newspaper look sloppy and careless, and makes me question the accuracy of all reporting.


About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.


2 thoughts on “The Washington Post needs copy editors”

  1. Just A Random Guy

    It isn’t only the Washington Post. I just read a Politico article so error-filled, I had to look at my calendar to ensure it wasn’t April Fools’ Day. Alas it’s December 21.

    That caused me to Google “copy editing, dead”, from which I stumbled upon this blog.

    These days it’s bad. Very bad. Not your blog, but copy editing. I can hardly read a Post or NYT article without finding at least one rather obvious error. Even The Atlantic, which in my opinion hosts today’s best writers, isn’t entirely immune. And yes, it causes me to question the overall quality of both writing and reporting. In today’s harsh media environment where credibility is always being questioned, this is a self-inflicted wound.

    1. You’re right! It is everywhere. Pubs have cut back on staff, and it seems, have rid themselves of copy editors and proofreaders. There’s also the rush to publish online.
      Thanks for commenting.

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