Take this page from the April 16 book review page of Time magazine. Author Charlotte Rogan can be pretty proud of the rave review of her novel “The Lifeboat.” Maybe even to the point of framing it.
Too bad Time didn’t have a copy editor check the page before sending it to press.
The box to the right of the cover contains information about the book cover’s file name, a bar code and the percentage scale, and I’m pretty sure that’s something Time’s readers didn’t need to know.
Worse, the boxes appear at the bottom of the page, obscuring the book covers to four more brief reviews.
When a reader sees an error like this, it raises the question of how many other errors are in the magazine, problems that can be more serious than not checking a page to make sure all the elements are in place.
In the news business, you only have one chance to do it right. Your reputation depends on it, and cutting back one staffer too many might be a short-term gain, but it can hurt you in the long run.
(Thanks to Charles Apple, whose “Why X Needs A Copy Editor” posts inspired this one.)