Thursday, January 31, 2008


Equal time for the Advertiser's typos

by Larry Geller

Line of flight commented on my earlier copy editing post:

Having worked in the newsprint medium for several years and then reading The Elements of Typographic Style, my life both in words and in their setting will never be the same. If only I could turn a blind eye to the small errors and word processors generic kerning. But for the dailies, there is hardly any justification.

I'm relieved that I am not the only reader of The Elements of Typographic Style in the state. I wonder if line of flight has noticed the Advertiser's selection of typeface since their makeover in 2004. Since nobody cares about this at all (even over at the Advertiser?) but perhaps the two of us, let me skip that until the end of this post.

I just thought I should give equal time to the Advertiser's copy editors as long as I was having a little fun at the Star-Bulletin's expense.

Mostly, I think they do very well. Keep in mind that a good deal of copyediting these days is done by the reporters and writers themselves. Unlike the days of yore when manual typewriters ruled, everyone now has spell checkers and access to an AP program that is supposed to standardize usage. Or I assume they do. Anyway, check out Jerry Burris' column, Hawaii caucuses will matter, in yesterday's paper. I'm not picking on Jerry, just his copy editors.

But in presidential years, interest soars dramatically. That's certainly the case this time around. Democrats meet Feb. 19 to begin their delegate selection process, and the party reports a surge of new interest in attending the caucuses.

I thought they were meeting Feb. 29. Maybe they are also meeting Feb. 19, or this could be a typo.

[Update: Rachel corrects me in comments, below. The caucus is Feb. 19. She directs us to the website of the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii for information.]

Just a paragraph down:

There is less activity on the Republican side, largely because the GOP handles most of the delegate selection process within the state convention itself. But for the Democrats, the candidate preference of the bulk of Hawai'i's 29 delegates to the national convention will be decided by those Feb. 29 caucuses.

In the same article:

Other slots, such as at-large and unfledged party leaders, will be allocated according to the preferences of those elected at the caucuses.

I like that about the Democratic party, the young and inexperienced party leaders thing. Thanks, Jerry, for this Freudian(?) typo. Or thanks to the copy editor, if there is one.

Ok, the typeface thing. You can leave now, I know no one at all is interested in this.

In the middle of 2004 the paper settled on Poynter Old Style for body type. This is a modern design created by or for the Poynter Institute, and has also been used effectively by the St. Petersburg Times, for example. But the Advertiser overuses the same typeface for headlines. There are better choices. The St. Petersburg Times uses a variety of typefaces for headlines. If one reads the Advertiser every day, one gets used to an unusually bland use of typefaces.

Why should you care? You shouldn't. I'm talking about a lost art, something children are no longer taught at school, and something newspapers may no longer care about.

Just something else gone extinct in Hawaii.


FYI, the Democratic caucuses are on Feb 19.

More information on the Progressive Democrats of Hawaii site.

One thing that irritates me is their continual ignorance of ligatures in their headlines. It's simply ugly to see fi, ffi, and the like where the f is mashed into the tittle of the i. And blown up at headline size, it's hard to ignore.

Poynter Old Style has ligatures, they're just not using them.

The font is designed for maximum readability in body type. There is also a Poynter Old Style Display, and of course it also has ligatures.

Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older