On any given night, The Michigan Daily newsroom is filled with a dedicated group of students who are running on too much coffee and too little sleep, painstakingly planning, writing and editing stories. Producing a daily newspaper requires the coordination and combined efforts of people working tirelessly to cover news and culture on and off campus.
Many freshmen wander into the newsroom for mass meetings in the beginning of the year, eager to partake in something bigger than themselves. Some sections seem “cool” and “fun” and “actually produce content.” They lure in new staffers with the prospects of one day traveling all over the country to cover championship games, interview presidential candidates and attend exclusive music festivals.
“Grammar is so fun,” we say. You read everything, and get to contemplate if there should be a hyphen in phrases like “health care education.” This never seems to elicit the same reaction.
Copy editors tend to be a quieter breed. Though you won’t see our names displayed in the paper, we play a critical role in upholding the integrity of the Daily as a trustworthy news publication. Our editors scrutinize every comma and every fact, and we pride ourselves on polishing and verifying the stories that go through our editing process. No, we don’t cover cool stories or blast music quite as loudly as the news desk, but we are just as important to the paper as any other section. And as we see it, the time has finally come for the copy desk to have a voice.
First, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the editors and writers for putting up with the air of pretension that sometimes lingers in our copy notes. We know it’s hard to like someone whose sole purpose is to highlight every grammatical and factual mistake you make. We know you use the Oxford comma in all of your academic papers, e-mails, texts and basically every other part of your life. And you’re outraged by the fact that AP style dictates that we delete every. last. one. We get it. We sympathize.
Second, we’d like to formally announce the start of our new column, Copy That. It’s a shame that all this grammarly knowledge and witty insight to the newsroom is confined to our 11-by-5-foot desk. If you want to learn some fun and flirty grammar tips, weird rules from our official style guide and hilarious grammar fails we uncover in our work, you’ve come to the right place.
So, whether you’re looking to improve your grammar to boost the grade on your next paper or simply looking for a laugh, we promise to deliver educational, witty and grammatically correct content. Copy That.
Laura Schinagle, Copy Chief and Emma Sutherland, Senior Copy Editor