Freelance Round-up: This month in writing - September <br>

Online dictionary review

As it is announced that the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary may be online-only, the Guardian reviews which online dictionary is the best.

Do you have any tips? Tell us in the forums.

Sub-editors ‘more vital than ever’

The Observer’s Readers’ editor has written about why sub-editors are more valuable than ever, at a time when many papers are cutting back on them.

The editor writes: “Unlike some other newspapers where the subediting strength has been cut to the bone, the Observer has a team of journalists working across all sections, editing text, checking facts and figures and writing headlines and other ‘furniture’ for both the newspaper and the website, processing about 200,000 words a week.

“They will miss errors and occasionally introduce some of their own, but equally, time and again, they silently save the paper from embarrassment.”

The editor recounts some of the gaffes the subs have saved the paper from publishing, such as daft headlines (“Chronic joblessness has taken hold in America, especially among the long-term unemployed”), Americanisms and inaccurate quotes. “Everyone is always reinventing the wheel, giving 110%, finding 'synergies' (sacking people) and using perfectly good nouns such as 'access' and 'impact' as verbs," despairs the Observer’s business chief sub.

Freelance journalist jailed

A freelance reporter was given a three-month prison sentence this month for making hoax calls to mountain rescuers after the Cumbria floods. She said she believed that climbers were not being rescued because of the floods and wanted to “test” the rescuers.

Sarah Crickmer, 27, was found guilty of two charges of sending false messages to cause annoyance or anxiety.

Actress attacks sloppy use of English

Actress Emma Thompson has spoken out against slang and sloppy speech this week.

She told the Radio Times that she is driven "insane" when people don’t speak properly.

She said: "We have to reinvest, I think, in the idea of articulacy as a form of personal human freedom and power.

"I went to give a talk at my old school and the girls were all doing their 'likes' and 'innits?' and 'it ain'ts', which drives me insane. I told them, 'Just don't do it. Because it makes you sound stupid and you're not stupid.'"

She added: "There is the necessity to have two languages - one that you use with your mates and the other that you need in any official capacity. Or you're going to sound like a k**b.”

Sarah Wray



30th September 2010

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