In editing, etiquette amounts to something more than anixety over the use of the fish fork or the togs to wear to the tennis court. Etiquette in a larger sense than table manners involves the social compact with the reader. Plagiarism and fabrication, which we are obliged to be alert for, violate the compact with the reader, who depends on the information we edit to form accurate perceptions of the world we live in and to make informed decisions.
Editing itself is a series of decision, of judgments. Each day I am at the paragraph factory I make decisions by the dozen, by the score, by the hundredweight. They are prescriptive: What should we say here? How should we say it? Our compact with the readers of The Baltimore Sun is that we offer them information that has been reported, verified, and edited, the editing being the stage devoted to establishing clarity.
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