The slot copy editor. THE SLOT: A Spot for Copy Editors

And even making that your lone exception is an extreme position, at least in the bell-curve sense. Captions are sometimes done by a photo desk and National Geographic actually has an entire department devoted to thembut usually they're the copy desk's job. Proofreaders -- and, indeed, copy editors reading proofs -- are often criticized rather than praised for making picky changes at that stage in the slot copy editor process, whereas the same changes might well be applauded at the copy-editing stage.

I'm not a religious person, but if you are, please put in a good word for Roger Federer and Venus Williams. Headline writing is an art in itself with its own set of intricate rules. For the fourth consecutive week, my wife will drive me to Philadelphia to get a once-over exam and a new bottle of pills for the clinical trial I'm on.

I had been complaining about it louis vuitton speedy slot months, but I turned up the volume and my main oncologist at Sibley Memorial referred me to an impressively credentialed radiation oncologist there.

I chose the latter. They make sure the stories fit on the page, which is not an issue for Web-only publishing. A senior copy editor would sit in the slot and check the work of those on the rim. Copy editors are not proofreaders, although reading proofs is often part of the job description.

Jacqueline and I have talked to a handful of people at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and they have been helpful and encouraging.

I'm not thriving under this regimen the way I did under chemotherapy. They check facts on varying levels. Copy editors are the last line of defense against bad writing, and writing can certainly be bad even when it's otherwise "clean.

So the next couple of days are going to suck, as I maneuver around this two-story house with two crutches and one functional knee. That doctor ordered up MRI No. Funny thing is, when I woke up, I was very confused when the nurses told me everything went well, because I could have sworn I had previously been awakened and told the operation was aborted because it had been bone cancer and not a metastasis all along.

The nausea is back, often accompanied by far-too-quick satiety and other unpleasant tummy symptoms. The "slot" supervisor almost always has to do the actual typesetting, but today that just means hitting a key. Whereas a debate within a high school about football would be a high-school football debate, a similar debate among taxpayers, lawmakers or the culture at large would most certainly be a high-school-football debate.

So Jacqueline and I will stop trekking to Philadelphia and start looking for another trial. It used to be that copy editors were often burned-out or even demoted reporters or upper-level editors, but that phenomenon seems to be less common today. We had expected to learn the verdict on the Philadelphia experiment during today's appointment at Penn Presbyterian, but the neck pain sent me the slot copy editor Sibley Memorial in Washington for a spine MRI the day before, and we the slot copy editor spoiled.

The former is a high-school debate; the latter is not.

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Dapper and Congenial Sawbones and his resident led me to believe that I could ditch the brace at any time and re-enact the Fred Astaire ceiling dance. One could argue for special-needs student accommodation or special-needs-student accommodation, but why risk annoying hyphen-averse readers when the single-hyphen version is perfectly understandable and logically defensible?

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Especially in sports coverage, the linkage is obvious and the punctuation would be rampant. Headlines on feature stories often employ puns and other wordplay to draw the reader in, and it takes quite a knack to know when such a hed is clever and when it's just plain silly.

The thigh that surrounds said femur is itself surrounded by a brace that immobilizes the knee.

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Georgetown has some promising clinical trials coming soon, and NIH isn't too much farther up Wisconsin Avenue. Just as judges are lawyers, astronauts are pilots and FBI agents are cops, newspaper copy editors are reporters first.

Still, these are minor complaints within the much bigger complaint. There is high-school football, college football and professional football, but the sport is football. This is probably less true of copy editors in other fields, but newspaper copy editors are expected to be fully qualified journalists.

The surgery went well from my perspective, but apparently I slept through some drama. The slot reads many stories, so can't spend much time on any of them. After what seemed like an hour of this agony, one of the techs said, "OK, Mr.

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