Taipei Times editing standards


OP was about a poor choice of headline in the TT. People started to talk about the other common TT errors.


As someone else said, I'm going on the self-reported circulation figures. I visited the websites for each paper and spent about 30 minutes on Google after my error was pointed out. (reference to 285,130, which I initially based my claim of TT being #1 on compared to a 3rd party source that claimed CP only had 250,000)

Anyway, despite my statement's inaccuracy, I don't think my point is entirely baseless. The Taipei Times is a leading English language newspaper in a country of over 20 million people, and that postion should merit some respect-- respect not being accorded it by the editors of the paper as evidenced by amateurish mistakes, but being shown to it through the criticism of readers who expect professionalism.


I blame the poor standards of editing in this thread.


I saw some figures from a major advertising agency - figures they use when advising clients on which media to advertise in - suggesting that both the TT and CP have around 25,000 readers, with the TN lagging some way behind. Also, the AWSJ was snapping at the heels of the TN, despite not being easy to find (especially here in the south).

Sometime ago a friend of mine was driving through Taitung County, and he stopped at a 7-11 to buy a TT. The workers told him, "You're the first person to ever buy that newspaper here!"


I'm on the "believe in the bigger picture side" of the arguement. I don't really care about the small spelling errors especially knowing copy editing is a pressure job with deadlines to meet every single night. Everyone makes mistakse and there are probably a lot of copy editors. I would guess the copy editing manager has a good idea of who commits the most errors and has addressed the problem. For me the paper is just a 45 min read on the bus before i start the grind everyday. Its actually relaxing. I think the format screwup they made a few years ago has been covered extensively already and there is not much i can add that will change it back to the way it was. (Just like ICRT radio will not bring back the 7:00am news hour).

TT carries its weight with some quality articles on occassion. The best part is every once in a while, a great Letter-to-the-editor is submitted by a joe nobody. - just like here on Forumosa. Every once in a while someone posts something really enlightening. (forumosa example: I remember one, I think ironlady dug up, about a guy/insecure girlfriend, guy stating he figured out the problem was his girlfriend's father left her family early on which cuased a serious emotional scar. Also, another one where a canadian student was contemplating coming to taiwan, I remember a great response from a guy telling him about how 10 years goes by so fast..etc. (if anyone wants to re-post links, great). I know, going off on a tangent a back to topic.

zhujianlun has given us numerous words of wisdom here and I for one think he is the brightest bulb at Forumosa, so please keep posting.

Also, knowing a little something about how TT works (i'm not an employee), I have seen their old apple macs and crappy spell checker program firsthand. It is really a joke to see a major newspaper in a high-tech country with such outdated hardware and software. Computers are dirt cheap nowadays and PC/Mac format issues do not matter any more. With better hardware/software they can be more efficient. Also, the new cubefarm they are in does not seem to be condusive to creative writing, but that's another issue.

On the topic of newspaper circulation, i caught the article a few days ago by TT staff writers which stated the Liberty Times beat out the Apple Daily. This is very hard to believe (in Taipei anyway) because whenever i go into a convenient store in the morning, there is a huge stack of Apple Dailys (ies?). At around 5pm, the stack is completely gone and if you want to buy the paper, it is a challenge to find it since all other stores are also sold out. I think the circulation numbers are total B.S. I think it can be assumed the largest vendor of Taipei Times or other English newspapers are conveinient stores. So if we calculate the total convienience stores, I think there are something like 3000 7-11's and maybe another 4000 Family Markets, Nico Markets, Hi-lifes, etc. x each store gets 3 Taipei Times, the total should be something like 7000 x 3 = 21,000. (not 210,000). Add in the subscribers, and total maybe is 30K daily readership. This is just a guesstimate.

(Speaking of the Apple, did anyone else catch the photo on page A10 today? guy with hand stuck in meat grinder. It beats out the tug-o-war arm snapping from a few years ago for shock value. - Just though i'd add that to lighten the spirit of this discussion). story here.


And advertisers get a copy too.

This thread is hilarious. I need a good laugh. Hugh bloody report in front of me...

The China Post advertises that it gives writing classes. How about that?


The only reason I buy the English papers in TW (TT and Taiwan News) is my need to complete a crossword that is somewhat challenging.

However, contrary to someone's earlier post, I would love to read more Taiwanese news. But, I want to read REAL news. Not letters to the editor about independence. Not a whole bunch of political stuff. What happened this week in Taiwan? There's a lot of things happening that have no real political "value."

Do any of us that can't read a Chinese newspaper know what is going on?


A lot of the problems stem from the Taiwanese staff. The editor at one of the English newspapers here in Taiwan actually asked their proofreader: "Why are you being so picky? No one notices the mistakes."
A Taiwanese colleague of hers refused to hire an applicant who went through an issue of the paper and highlighted all the mistakes because "We don't want someone who will correct us. It would be too embarrassing."
Add to this the difficulty of getting many Taiwanese to admit that they are wrong about some aspect of English usage. I have heard the refrain: "But our teacher in middle school told us that ..." too many times.


Perhaps we should stop being so picky and be thankful there are any English newspapers at all in this country. English is not even the second or third language spoken in Taiwan. The majority of the people working at the paper are not Westerners, give 'em a break. It would be as if a bunch of American non-Chinese tried to make a Chinese paper in New York about USA news for the Chinatown Chinese residents and they complained about how there were a bunch of typos. They would look pretty ungrateful wouldn't they?

With that said, I have seen the occassional typo and their papers are always still comprehendable.


How about just say no to chabuduo-ism!

If folks just spent a fraction of their energy fighting chabuduo philosophy as they do fighting Chinese-ness, this place would improve by leaps and bounds. You can take that to the bank.


It's not those kinds of mistakes that irritate people. It's clangers like this one that appeared today: ... 2003278585

The article, which was actually quite interesting, was about saltwater aquariums, for god's sake. Plants! :unamused:


Hobart -
Naw...their comments would be looked at, gratefully acknowledged and acted upon. Seen it happeninColumbus, Ohio and Orange county Cali.
The last thing the papers wanted to present was an un-professional image. Their advertoser would have refused to do business with them if they kept making the same mistakes.

It was a matter of ..."face."


No I have to take issue with you there. It's definitely more of a "zheyang jiu keyi" -ism. More research is needed...



[quote="zhujianlun"]Maybe I should come at this from another angle. Goose Egg's point was well made, though the more I look at it, the more pedantic it appears from the point of view of a person who doesn't have two neuroradiologists as parents. Especially if you're more interested in headlines than the meat in the article.

What I am trying to understand is why people get off so royally on mocking the English-language press on minutiae


From the Sunday, June 22, edition of the Taipei Times:

"Hu Jintao avoids tricky questions in chatroom debut

Sunday, Jun 22, 2008, Page 5

In the 1930s, US president Theodore Roosevelt’s fireside chats set the political tone of the radio age. In the 1960s, US president John Kennedy’s impassioned speeches thrilled the first television generation."

Um, Theodore Roosevelt died in 1919. Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave the famous fireside chats.

Question: Is this a mistake by the Guardian? Or is it something that the copy editors at the TT should have caught?

In any case, it gave me a chuckle.


Yes to both. (original article)

[Edit: The original article has been corrected. But Google’s cache shows this used to have “Theodore” rather than FDR.]


History schmistory.


Speaking of the Times, they announced today that they will start a weekly page “covering Taiwan’s expat population”. Might be interesting.


typos are a fact of life in newspapers, all of them, in every language. and so what? it’s not literature, it’s not permament. today’s news story is tomorrow’s bird cage liner, so who cares, apart from the pedants? the TT has no more or no less than other maintream media in bigger circulation in far more important markets, including the Times, NYT, USA Today, SMH, etc (OK, some of those might have a few less than the TT, but so what?). searching for typos might titillate the frivolous amongst us but they don’t detract from the story, surely.

now, factual errors are a diferent matter. checking facts is a central part of every newspaper’s obligations to their readers, one would have thought, even in articles they lazily suck off the big agencies’ wires.


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