Numbers: Dates on routing slips

April 10, 2008: Issue 234

Dear Style on the Go:
I feel like my copy editors are neglecting me. I mark my routing slips “HOT” or “RUSH,” in all capital letters, in bright red ink. I circle and underline the words, sometimes two or three times. But I don’t get my stories back the same day, or even the next day. I know they’re reading other people’s stories. Why not mine? What do I have to do to get noticed?
Bottom of the Pile in Des Moines

Dear Bottom:
Have you examined the message you’re putting out there? Maybe it’s time to ask yourself what your CEs really need from you.
For instance, are you putting dates on your routing slips? CEs use those dates to set priorities when they’re looking at a deep stack of manuscripts and layouts. Be sure both the “Due to Art” box and the “Due to MIC” box are filled in every time. Stories without dates will languish as CEs pick up other files that are clearly nearing (or even past) their marked deadlines.
“Hot” and “rush” don’t help. Those are subjective labels, and nearly everything CEs read is hot by someone’s standards. Nothing will speed turnaround more than a specific date.
If you must use red ink, try drawing a few hearts.

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