Re: Paying for Typos

Subject: Re: Paying for Typos
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 07:34:33 PST

Carolyn Haley writes:

>Shouldn't a "journal through which top practitioners -- editors, writers
>and educators -- help their colleagues master their craft" be a bit
>better-produced for $6.95 an issue? I've paid a lot less than that for
>top-end periodicals. Isn't an editor responsible for the typographic
>quality of his/her publication?

Yes, it should be better. The editor may or may not be in charge of
typography (it depends on the division of responsibility between the
compositors and editors). But, of course, responsibility isn't the
same thing as possibility. A really brilliant editor may know diddly
about compositing and be a horrendously bad proofreader into the bargain.
So far it looks like the magazine has managed to acquire top talent
and has a feel for content. That's usually the hard part. They may
or may not be able to extend the quality to other levels. If the
magazine is losing money and is being produced as a labor of love on
a press in the editor's basement, I would just keep my fingers crossed
and hope it doesn't fold tomorrow. If it's well-funded and has lots
of advertising revenue, then I would be surprised if the little glitches
didn't get fixed.

Just because something OUGHT to be done doesn't mean that it can be done.
I watched a series of engineering projects take 18 months to complete.
At the end of each project, top management would demand that the next
one be done in six months, because the company would be in peril of
going bankrupt if it took the usual 12 months (they couldn't count,
either). However, as Deming says about three thousand times in OUT OF
THE CRISIS, it is management's responsibility to provide the changes in
the workplace that make improvement possible. Exhortations are worse
than useless. Without changing the design methodology, adding talent,
improving interderpartmental communications, buying faster computers,
choosing simpler architectures, trimming the design at the beginning
rather than in a panic six months later, or any of the other methods
that might have sped up the process, they gave the same people working
under the same conditions the same exhortations. And they expected
results! The only results were that the engineers felt incredible
levels of stress, which of course slowed down their work, extinguished
their willingness to be creative, and introduced massive numbers of
mistakes. Of course, the company folded in the end.

They OUGHT to have created a design in six months. It just wasn't possible.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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