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Call me picky, but it matters.

Walter Cowan is probably rolling over in his grave.

For a while now, we’ve been seeing evidence of one of the main problems with “digital-first” (aka “get it online asap”) priorities: poor copy editing, even poorer than the copy editing of the print edition, which has been lousy for several years now. In fact, copy editing of the online content by a different set of eyeballs may be nonexistent, as a T-P staffer who survived the cuts told me not long ago:

We’ve been told that most of what we write will get posted on the web directly without an editor seeing it.

Here’s just one example, excerpts from an otherwise well-written article by Mark Schleifstein, with highlighted problems, some of which make the copy unreadable:

Hurricane Katrina damage judgment against Army Corps of Engineers is reversed by federal appeals court

By Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune

on September 24, 2012 at 7:12 PM, updated September 24, 2012 at 10:26 PM

The Army Corps of Engineers is not liable for billions of dollars in flood damage in the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish during Hurricane Katrina that a lower court said resulted from the agency’s failure to maintain the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The corps was immune from damages because of a provision in the law governing suits against the federal government that protects an agency when it makes a discretionary decision.

In the case of the construction and maintenance of the MR-GO, the panel found that [the word "while" or "although" is missing, making the sentence unreadable] the corps may have abused its discretion or simply made errors in inadequately studying the effects of the shipping channel during environmental studies, in deciding against extra protection along the failed segment of St. Bernard levees, and in delaying a decision to “armor” segments of the levee and shoreline with grasses, [alternatively, the word "but" could have been used here] each of those decisions were immune from lawsuit under the law.

The ruling reverses a March decision by the same panel that found U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. was correct [the word "in" is missing] a November 2009 decision in ruling that the failure to maintain the MR-GO was unrelated to flood control activities represented by the levees along its banks, and instead was the equivalent of a Navy captain failing to maintain a ship that crashes through a levee.

… “The corps’s actual resons [misspelled, no "(sic)"] for the delay (in armoring the banks and levee) are varied and sometimes unknown, but there can be little dispute that the decisions here were susceptible to policy consideration,” the panel ruled, and thus is shielded by the legal exception.

… That part of the ruling confirmed that lead plaintiff and WDSU-TV anchor Norman Robinson and his wife were not entitled to damages.

The ruling also reversed Duval’s decision in favor of Anthony and Lucille Franz, who owned a home on St. Claude Avenue in the lower 9th Ward [comma missing] that they were owed $100,000 plus interest and court costs for flood damage to the second floor of their home by water from the St. Bernard levees.

Other plaintiffs in the overturned lawsuit are Tanya Smith of Chalmette, who Duval ruled should receive $317,000 and interest and court costs; former Tulane University football Kent Lattimore, who lost is [should be "his"] St. Bernard trailer home and was awarded $134,665 in interest and court costs; and his Lattimore and Associates real estate appraisal business, which was awarded $168,033.25 with interest and court costs.

… Soon after the appeals panel’s initial March ruling, the Justice Department requested ["that"] the entire 5th Circuit rehear the case. In Monday’s decision, the appeals panel said it treated that request as a petition for a rehearing by the original panel, and withdrew its original opinion. …

The current online version of this story is here. Even though it has a later “updated” timestamp, the only correction (so far) is to change “is” to “his”.

Thankfully, in this instance the print version is cleaner: