Like I suppose everyone else, I have seen many articles describing the decline of old line media, including the hollowing out of copy editing and research departments. As a result of these changes, even outstanding papers such as The New York Times often have spelling and grammatical errors in their articles, or get simple facts (like people’s names) wrong. What I am curious about is whether academic publishing is going through similar travails.
My question is prompted by a recently published book about Hollywood that I just read. The author did an excellent job, but whoever at the university press was responsible for copy editing really blew it.
In the very first paragraph of the book was the phrase “and most of important of all”, and later a scene in a movie is described as being filmed “without no dialogue”.
Gardening is described as exercising control over “you own domain”, we are informed that an actor “love this period” with his wife, Donna Reed’s name is spelled correctly in one paragraph and then spelled as Reid in the next.
A photo from a famous war movie is captioned as a Corporal taking over a platoon after a Private has a mental breakdown. Corporals outrank Privates, so this makes no sense. In the movie, both men are Sergeants.
As for the index, I only tried to use it once which isn’t a good quality check. But FWIW, one actor was mentioned twice in the book playing similar roles and when I went to the index later to find the linked roles, he was only listed once and I had to page through to find his other mention.
Does anyone in the business know if academic publishers are cutting staff (and corners) like the newspapers, or, was this just a case of an unusually badly copy edited book from a university press?