New article for HealthCastle.com: Easy-Pack, Security-Approved Vegetarian Food for Air Travel

(HealthCastle.com) Back in the good old days of air travel, when most flights of more than a couple of hours included a meal, it was easy for vegetarians to find food in-flight. All you had to do was request a vegetarian meal when you booked your ticket, and not only were you assured a vegetarian meal on the plane – you actually got your meal delivered to your seat before they started wheeling the cart down the aisle to dish out the standard-issue fare…

Read the rest at HealthCastle.com.

Why copy editing matters: Comparing a Globe online story with the printed version

Copy editing seems to be on the way out in newspapers across the country. The number of simple errors that make it into print is increasing in most papers, and some even offer  the option to “report a typo” in their online stories.

Here’s the thing: Copy editing matters, and it’s about much more than typos. I normally find myself rolling my eyes at a few silly mistakes in the big papers (don’t get me started on the online only content posted by radio and TV stations), but today I actually had to give up reading a story in the Globe and Mail because the number of errors was so distracting that the content just wasn’t sinking in.

The worst part is that at least two errors were straight typos that even a spell check program would have caught. Surely the Globe can afford to run spell check, even if they can’t afford to keep copy editors on staff?

I thought it would be interesting to compare some of the mistakes in the printed paper with the story online to see how it’s evolved. Many (not all) of the errors have been fixed, and I have to wonder if they were changed because staff spotted them or because readers did. If it was staff who spotted the mistakes, why were they not given the chance to do so before the paper went to press?

Here are just four errors from the print story, and what had happened to them online as of 2:45 Pacific time on Sunday.

Error Type Fixed online?
“hopsital” Spelling error Yes: Changed to “hospital”
“65% of Canadians die in hospital every year” Factual error: If 65% of Canadians died in hospital every year, we’d be in big trouble. The sentence as worded means that 65% of all the people in Canada die in hospital every year. Yes: Changed to “65 per cent of Canadian deaths every year occur in hospitals.” Ah, that’s much better. Much less likely to lead to catastrophic depopulation.
“SAYS Ru Taggar Sunnybrook’s chief nursing executive” Miscapitalization; missing comma Yes: Changed to “says Ru Taggar, Sunnybrook’s chief nursing executive
“when he signs Danny Boy Typo (wrong word) No: “Signs” has not yet been corrected to “sings”

I may be pickier than most, but the Globe actually lost me as a reader on this story because I was so distracted by the number of simple errors. Some of these would have been caught by a simple spell check (“hopsital,” “SAYS”). But only a real, live person can catch an error like the incorrect use of a statistic.

Copy editing is much more than catching typos: It’s an important part of presenting a credible story.

 

 

 

 

 

New article for HealthCastle.com: Salmon – Health Benefits and How To

(HealthCastle.com) Salmon is quite simply one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s great for light but substantial meals, especially if you’re trying to reduce your meat intake, and you can eat it in a wide variety of ways, from sushi to canned to grilled to baked. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon. Let’s take a look at the nutrition data to find out why…

Read the rest at HealthCastle.com.

New article for HealthCastle.com: Cook Up a Little Romance with 5 Home-Made Valentine’s Day Treats

(HealthCastle.com) Valentine’s Day gifts have become pretty predictable. Flowers. Chocolates. Jewelry. An overpriced dinner in a restaurant packed with other couples vying for the best table. It can all take the romance right out of the day. Instead of a stereotypical (read: boring and expensive) Valentine’s Day, why not cook up a little romance at home? It may save your sanity (never mind your wallet) to spend the evening together whipping up tasty treats to share in your own kitchen…

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New article for HealthCastle.com: Trans Fats On the Way Out? The FDA Moves to Ban Partially Hydrogenated Oils

(HealthCastle.com) You probably know that trans fats are bad for you: They raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and can increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. Some countries have already banned them. In the United States, trans fats were not even required to be listed on product labels until 2006. Now, just seven years later, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to phase artificial trans fats out from packaged foods sold in the United States…

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New article for HealthCastle.com: Not All PUFAs and Vegetable Oils Are Good For Your Heart

(HealthCastle.com) You may heard that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are good for your heart. In fact, if you live in Canada, you may even have seen heart-health claims on the packaging of many vegetable oils and products containing these oils. Since 2009, Canadian labels of these oils and the foods that contain them have been allowed to claim they promote “a reduced risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.” But a new analysis performed by researchers in Ontario, Canada, and published on the Canadian Medical Association Journal’s website this week suggests that claim may not be accurate if the oil contains high levels of omega-6 but does not also contain high levels of omega-3…

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New Article for HealthCastle.com: Brussels Sprouts – Health Benefits and How To

(HealthCastle.com) Brussels sprouts tend to bring out strong opinions: You either love them or you hate them. If you love them, you’re in luck – these tiny cabbages are packed with nutrition. As a bonus, they thrive in colder temperatures, so they’re at their peak when there are few other fresh, local produce options available. If you’ve always thought you hated them, you just might want to give them another chance. Brussels sprouts are enjoying a moment in the spotlight, which means there are all kinds of new ways to prepare them. These new methods might just be tasty enough to make you forget all about those childhood dinners of overcooked, mushy “little brains.”

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A freelance travel & lifestyle writer/editor in Vancouver, B.C.