|Wednesday, July 23, 2003|
Caution: Check bathwater for babies prior to disposal
Jeff Jarvis got a less-than-great edit. It happens. He roasts the editor, perhaps violating the unwritten rule of only picking on people your own size, but with the justification that this is a case of old journalism not understanding weblogs, which seems be true here and is certainly true in other cases.
Jarvis ends by declaring that his readers are his editors, which is true enough, especially if the readers have weblogs of their own. Dave Winer takes things a step further – he advises Jarvis to eschew even peer editing: “Jeff, they'll grind you to a pulp and leave you for dead. No editors, and that's an absolute, as far as I'm concerned.”
Lost in all this is the simple fact that a good editor often improves copy, that writing can be a collaborative process, that fresh eyes sometimes see clearest. Perspective helps.
When I’m working on a long, detailed story, a good editor helps me focus. Sometimes I get lost in the details, and forget that not everyone knows stuff I take for granted after researching a topic for six weeks. It’s not always a pleasant experience to be edited by even a great editor – the legendary Jim Michaels at Forbes could be brutal even while making a story better.
My newspaper columns, on the other hand, are edited only for factual errors. They’re my voice and my opinion, and I'm left to sink or swim. That may be closer to what Jarvis was doing, in which case I can see why he was so annoyed – it’s one thing to help a writer express an idea, but another thing to tell him what his ideas are.
All of which goes double for a weblog – working without a net is part of the fun. But if you never modify your opinions after reading comments and other weblogs – if you don’t take advantage of peer editing , it’s your loss, and your readers’ loss. And to assume that weblog readers and writers have a lock on editing skills, to the exclusion of most or all professional editors, seems a bit extreme.
Jarvis is right that too many journalists and institutions still don’t get weblogs. But long after weblogs penetrate those musty offices – and they will – there will be good editors and good edits, and bad ones as well. Even highly personal writing, even literary fiction, can benefit from a good editor.
Jarvis doesn’t show that editors suck, he shows that he got a sucky edit.
6:17:51 PM comment 
Le Petit Market at 213 S. Elm is now offering lunch at outdoor tables. Good news for Luna and me, and for downtown
Meanwhile, a website is under construction. It will include a link to the cookbook written by sisters Nancy Pierron and Susan Lipper, who opened the shop nearly a year ago in the tiny space formerly occupied by Out to Lunch.
Today I had the Wednesday special tenderloin sandwich, with a warm veggie medley on the side. Then I was forced to try the chocolate-and-Kahlua cake. It was all pretty great.
2:47:17 PM comment 
8:56:26 AM comment 
Tara Grubb: “Meet me at McCoul's Pub Wednesaday from to as we kick off this campaign with a scotch, a toast and a conversation. McCoul's is located on
McCoul’s is actually on
8:41:30 AM comment