Become a proofreader to find and fix other people’s mistakes all day long, write down the recipe. First, you need to learn the grammar of the Russian language. Second, to master the intricacies of semantics – the science of the meaning of words. Third, learn to work with dictionaries and reference books. And the most important thing is to always be careful and diligent. Then, welcome to the profession! Valentina Zaitseva joined the Soviet Sakhalin proofreading team half a century ago. On October 11, our editors congratulated the most attentive reader on their work anniversary.
Song Solveig over the Tatar Strait
Here is a detail: only on the work anniversary of Valentina Zaitseva, our proofreader, colleagues learned that she has been singing almost professionally since childhood and even dreams of an artistic career. They do not write about it in the work books, and Zaitseva herself very rarely told reporters about it. Yes, and we often expect edits from her in articles, not stories. Therefore, we do not notice that we are working next to the most interesting person.
Our proofreader spends most of the working day in a separate office, studying printouts of future newspaper pages on a special music stand. And only sometimes he goes to journalists to clarify the phrase or to suggest correcting subtitles that violate the strict norms of the Russian language.
– At school I had a singing teacher – a native of St. Petersburg. She noticed my vocal skills and wanted to prepare me for the Leningrad Conservatory. But the parents were afraid to let the child go to a distant city. And I entered the regional pedagogical institute with my girlfriends.
In Chekhov, where Valentina Andreevna was born, there was no music school. Therefore, the third grade teacher works with a gifted child after school.
“I started with the song ‘Mom bought great galoshes for Lesha,'” says our proofreader. – She sang Solveig’s song from Grieg’s suite “Peer Gynt”, Schubert’s serenade, My nightingale, nightingale, performed at school concerts …
She left the university and … to the editor
After graduating from the Faculty of Philology of the Pedagogical Institute, Valentina became a teacher of Russian language and literature in the most unusual educational institution in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk – evening school No. 5. People who are serving sentences in a correctional colony study there.
– I was strict, I was instructed how to behave: under no circumstances should I smile …
“Soviet Sakhalin” became Zaitseva’s second place of work. The editors needed a proofreader. Based on an ad, she came for an interview with the legendary editor Vasily Ilyich Paramoshkin (he ran the main newspaper of the region from 1958 to 1982).
– I entered the reception room, and there the royal secretary Zinochka, Zinaida Fedorovna. They gave me a few days to look around. I saw: proofreader girls and journalists are good, the atmosphere is creative…
Then there were ten correctional officers in Soviet Sakhalin. This newsroom worked in two shifts, each had two proofreaders, two proofreaders and a proofreader of the newsroom, he led the shift and checked the work of subordinates.
Valentina came to the editorial office without newspaper experience, but almost immediately became a revisionist: her responsibility and exactingness became the reason for her official success.
On hot lines
Newspaper production is still a complex multi-step process, there is always a professional at each stage of preparing the publication for publication. In the Soviet era, there were even greater requirements for the result of the editorial work – “Sovetsky Sakhalin” was the official newspaper of the regional authorities. And from a production point of view, the regional newspaper resembled a factory, where the journalistic section was one of the workshops.
In the 1970s and 1980s, regional newspapers were published five times a week. The journalist wrote an article, it was read by the head of the department, then the responsible secretary looked at it, and then the editor. After the material was collected, the linotype machine poured the lines, they were fixed in the work table. The metranpage roller rolls printing ink on the work table, places a sheet of paper and makes an impression to get galleys. Proofreaders and journalists read the future article on narrow strips of paper and found errors.
One of the main tools of the meter page was the awl, with which he extracted lines with errors from the printed form and replaced them with freshly cast, sometimes still hot, error-free ones.
And I re-read the proofreading, checked …
The proofreader should be able to explain with an icon in the box what edits need to be made to the material. For this purpose, in 1936 the USSR approved the All-Union standard for such signs. By 1971, the standard was made industry-specific (OST), and in 1980, the character set became GOST. According to this document, the proofreader must mark the 48-character edit with variations.
However, experienced journalists worked in Soviet Sakhalin, so Valentina Andreevna most often used a small number of characters.
Proofreaders were constantly self-educated, often buying their own manuals and dictionaries and keeping abreast of language developments. Now in the office of the proofreaders of “Soviet Sakhalin” they occupy several shelves of the cabinet. In one line, polytechnic dictionary, geographical atlases of the region, reference books for long and divided writing, dictionaries of language difficulties, antonyms and synonyms …
And a separate “squadron” – four volumes of a rare and interesting etymological dictionary by Max Wasmer.
The proofreader reads newspaper strips on a desk sheet music. Valentina said that although her music stand is modest, it is mounted so that it does not wobble and does not interfere with journalists’ fault finding. And another detail that can emphasize the seriousness of the editing: our proofreader always uses his own pen, although there are far more good things than mistakes in Sovetsky Sakhalin.
I corrected the TASS article
By catching errors in articles, proofreaders often save editors from serious problems. In the voluminous personal file of Valentina Zaitseva, among the orders for bonuses and vacations, there is this one: No. 38 from April 1983.
With this order, the editor of “Sovetsky Sakhalin” Fyodor Khrustalev (head of the newspaper in 1982-1989) thanked the specialist “for the careful, creative attitude to the issue, not making mistakes in the important material published on April 1, 1983.”
In the issue of the newspaper that day, a voluminous – from the first to the second page – address of TASS, dedicated to the memory of the “brilliant thinker, ardent revolutionary” Karl Marx, was published.
The revision proofreader thoughtfully read the article … and found an inconsistency in it, a logical error. Khrustalev immediately demanded an explanation from the party authorities, the embarrassment was avoided.
Most of the article was made up of quotes from a report by Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR Boris Ponomarev, who in those years led the team of authors of the textbook “History of the CPSU”.
Boris Ponomarev wrote in a TASS article: “…We live in a time when both the danger of a world war and the forces capable of preventing it are growing at the same time… We are against the fact that the dispute over ideas turns into an interstate confrontation. There is and cannot be any other reasonable basis for relations between states with different social systems than peaceful coexistence…”.
The meaning of these lines is quite clear and relevant. But the nephew of the prominent Soviet ideologist, the former deputy of the State Duma Ilya Ponomarev, today shamelessly calls for the murder of citizens of our country who fled to the territory of a country that is extremely hostile to Russia.
Stalin was called a traitor
If in the calm year of 1983 the proofreader of “Soviet Sakhalin” received a bonus and thanks, then at other times a banal typo can turn into a disaster.
A lecturer in the Department of Journalism of the Far Eastern State University who taught a course on production and design of a newspaper, recalled how during the war years the newspaper in which she worked, the chairman of the State Defense Committee Stalin was almost called a traitor. No, there was no ideological sabotage, but three letters fell out of the word “chairman”.
The keeper of the printing house saved the editorial office from repression: as an educated person, he had the habit and the opportunity to be the first to read the last issue of the newspaper. The security of the printing industry noticed a terrible mistake and warned the journalists.
The circulation was destroyed, the number of the newspaper was reprinted.
And even proofreaders make mistakes!
However, there have been, are, and will be errors or omissions in newspaper pages for as long as the press has existed.
– Once I broke through … – Valentina Zaitseva is shy, but still admits: – I missed a mistake in the title, written in capital letters … Passage material in the newspaper “Maze”. The word “abandoned” was spelled with one “n” …
– Did you notice? I clarify to understand the consequences.
– I noticed. And the authorities probably didn’t, because there was no reprimand.
Based on the experience of working with Valentina Andreevna, I can assume that the authorities should not have reprimanded. Our proofreader can be blamed for a flaw in his work more severely than any editor or responsible secretary: this is about Valentina’s personal responsibility.
He sang for the whole district
Zaitseva’s personal archive contains memorable photos.
In one of them, she is sitting at a table in the studio of the regional television in a concert dress, while cameramen with bulky cameras bustle around. There is a recording of a festive concert in the year of the fortieth anniversary of the island Komsomol.
Then USGPI student Valentina Zaitseva performed with the university’s propaganda team at the construction sites of the state power plant in Vakhrushev and at the airport in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. And she sang separately throughout the region from the studio of the television center …
It was the very beginning of that summer when cosmonaut number 4 Pavel Popovich flew to our islands. And a few days before that, poet Mihail Tanich and composer Jan Frenkel got off the plane at the new airport of the regional capital. To write the famous song “Well, what can you say about Sakhalin?”.
By the way, they got the song … with errors. Perhaps because the lines of the Moscow poet were not corrected before any other by the most attentive critic – proofreader, a colleague of our Valentina Zaitseva.
But we will talk about the mistakes of Tanich and Frenkel separately.
Newspaper terms to broaden the reader’s horizons
SUBSCRIBER – one of the numbers of the “corrector’s calculation”, it compares the corrected text with the original so that the editing does not change the meaning of the article.
METRANPAGE – a worker of a publishing house or printing house, whose duties include the layout of newspaper pages according to the layout. The word is formed from the French description of the position – metteur en pages, “head of the pages”. This profession was glorified by the Irkutsk writer Alexander Vampilov. In the play “The History of Metronage”, a hotel manager kicks a guest out of a strange room, but then hears the name of the outcast’s mysterious profession and becomes worried.