The lost art of proofreading

Allow me to introduce myself – Alex Eliopoulos, Office Manager here at Landis Communications, Inc. In accordance with my professional role, I deal with a great deal of correspondence (both written and electronic).

In our day and age, where internet chatting and text-messaging shorthand have become a prevalent societal meme, it has become increasingly rare to find attention to detail in everyday, written language (let alone immaculate grammar and punctuation). This general characteristic would have been nearly unthinkable in the day of, say, the printing press.

In a nutshell, it has become more “acceptable” in mainstream society to use colloquialisms, slang and rather lazy abbreviations. U know wut I am referring 2. To be fair, this kind of correspondence has a context in which it’s acceptable – what is not acceptable, however, is when it begins to bleed into the professional realm.

In the business of PR (and the professional world in general), proofreading and articulate communication is absolutely vital. The quality of written correspondence – whether an official press release or a business-related email to a client – speaks volumes beyond the simple, written message. Error-free written (or typed, as is usually the case) communication is essential to presenting one’s ideas clearly, intelligently and in a manner that denotes attention to detail and a critical eye for accuracy.

In many instances, Word will NOT catch certain errors. Other times, the spell-check feature will flag things that are, in fact, properly used and spelled. Using this feature as a crutch is definitely not a foolproof method and will never replace another set (or two) of eyes scanning a document for accuracy, correct spelling, and syntax.

Some useful tips:

  • – Print out the document and proof a hard copy; you often see things in hard copy that you can miss on a computer screen.
  • – Read the document backwards; it makes your eye look at it differently so that you can catch mistakes that you may have made, even if you wrote it.
  • – Always have another set of eyes proof the document.

Take pride in what you write!

Now, without further ado, I bring to you Alex’s Buzzworthy list for this week:

  • Cobb’s Comedy Club – the finest stand-up comedy SF has to offer; major national acts and some real talent that will often have you in tears (in a good way, of course).
  • 12 Galaxies – a great venue for local/regional music…named after a very interesting character indeed (interesting enough to warrant his own Wikipedia page).
  • KK Café – Jack & Margaret, owners of this establishment, are exceedingly kind & sweet people who serve a mean burger and some decent coffee; ask them about the peanut milk, too (or just look at the walls).
  • Amoeba Music (Haight-Ashbury) – an unrivaled selection of CDs across all genres, only bolstered by their occasional free, live in-store shows; truly a music-lover’s utopia.
  • Punchline Comedy Club – a smaller venue than Cobb’s, yet still able to boast top-notch standup plus some great local talent.
  • El Rio – a personal favorite bar/live music venue; great vibe, and the chance to watch live bands from behind (how many places can boast that?) Furthermore, it is worth noting that this is where our own David Landis met his now-husband 18 years ago.
  • Rasputin Music (Berkeley – Telegraph Ave.) – The only other record store in the Bay Area that gives Amoeba a run for its money, as far as selection and genre variety.
  • Sliders – Hands down the best burgers I’ve eaten in the city of San Francisco; this diner is arguably an LCI favorite.
  • Nara Sushi – Delicious lunch specials (affordable, varied and well-cooked), plus tasty sushi; I am also highly partial to the down-tempo and trip hop music selection one of the sushi chefs likes to spin here.
  • Twin Peaks – one of San Francisco’s most majestic and sublime views; “breathtaking” is a valid adjective for this spot – a must for the uninitiated.
  • Kate’s Kitchen – an amazingly tasty breakfast (& brunch) spot in Lower Haight; bring company to chat with on a Sunday morning – there is usually a considerable wait for their deliciousness, though it’s well worth it!
  • Ocean Beach – the stretch of beach located right past Outer Richmond; an amazing spot to catch the Pacific sunset and enjoy a bonfire with friends.

3 thoughts on “The lost art of proofreading

  1. I agree with your proofreading comments. Last week I had the privilege of judging applications for Silver Anvil awards, given by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). It’s fun and a good way to give back to the profession. Less pleasant was finding editing and proofing gaffes in submissions for the Oscars of our profession.

    In addition to the suggestions you make, I’ll share a practice that is part of DNA at our firm. Every major communiqué and all work products go through copy editing and proofing by two people, one reading aloud to the other. It’s been a godsend for me (because I can generate major bloopers) and a great value to our clients. Just this afternoon, we received a new, standing assignment to be involved in the production of every product- and tech sheet. Our team caught errors that slipped through the client’s technology group and executives.

    The one exception to our rule is in blogging. We’ve found it slows the process, and we have been told that typos and syntactical errors are acceptable. Your hints are spot on here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *