Monday, March 14, 2011

Dashing off

I'm dashing off to Phoenix this week for the American Copy Editors Society annual conference.

On Thursday I'll be giving a talk about editing maps and graphics. And on Friday I'm on a panel discussing apps for iPads and other tablets. If you're at the conference, be sure to say hi.

Speaking of dashes, I noticed a pile up of them in the February Vanity Fair article on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the diplomatic cable dump. Here's the last paragraph:
But convergence goes only so far–there's no reason to think that either party has shed its basic outlook, or ever will, or could. The conflict is as old as civilization itself–between those who cherish what institutions provide and those who distrust everything that institutions stand for. At the moment, in journalism, neither seems to have the upper hand–and neither can do without the other.
At least the writer kept herself to only one dash per sentence. But one dash every sentence is hardly better. Good writers–and editors–know to use dashes sparingly. Otherwise they lose their effect in highlighting a point or making a strong aside. If everything is set off, then nothing stands out.

"Must Dash" T-shirt available at