I've written a (very mean) set of tips for journalism students

I'm the copy editor on my college's newspaper, and every two weeks I get about ten emails each with four or five attachments of articles from the journalism classes.  I have to edit all of them.  (Well, that's not true.  Some of them I just send back with a big NOPE.) This week, I kept a separate file open while I did it.  I wrote out a series of tips, in hopes of passing it off to the teachers.

It's not okay to give to the teachers.  So instead, I've published it here.

Tips for journalism students and other people submitting things to other people who are going to have to reformat those things so they aren't a pain in the ass [NSFW language]

An excerpt (below the fold because language):

9. Check to make sure the pronouns agree with each other.  If you say "Everyone," you have to say "Them," not "Him or her."

10. When you're trying to avoid clichés, don't write the cliché but swap out one of the words for a word with a similar meaning.  It doesn't make your language sound fresher -- you're just generally replacing a shitty sentence that makes sense with a shitty sentence that doesn't.

11. No, but seriously.  The punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.  There are few things more goddamn annoying than having to copy an editor on a new draft of something because everything was fine but you put all your fucking periods outside their quotation marks.

12. You're fucking allowed to use contractions.

Def Leppard's badass music negotiation

(via Boing Boing) The way record labels treat bands is notoriously awful, and has only gotten worse since the advent of iTunes.  At least one band, Def Leppard, has come up with a way around their horribleness.

"Our contract is such that they can't do anything with our music without our permission, not a thing. So we just sent them a letter saying, 'No matter what you want, you are going to get "no" as an answer, so don't ask.' That's the way we've left it. We'll just replace our back catalog with brand new, exact same versions of what we did." [says frontman Joe Elliott]

Unfortunately, not all bands have this sway, not all bands have the resources to re-record their back-catalogue, and not all bands have the established fanbase that would support this kind of move.  But in the cases where it's possible, it's good to see bands standing up to the labels.

A few days ago, John Green reposted on his tumblr an article about the necessity of labels -- or the particular ways in which labels encourage a diversity of music.  I like to think I'm sensitive to those arguments, and I definitely agree with John's point that books are made tangibly better by the institution of publishing that surrounds them.

I believe that can also be true for musicians, and there are a lot of ways I know it is true.  But the balance of the deal right now is seriously screwed up.  Something needs to be done about it, and however nebulous that 'something' is, stands like the one Def Leppard has taken are steps toward pushing the labels into becoming something new.

I hope, anyway.