William Safire on the Times Recording Room

Here’s one more anecdote on the New York TimesRecording Room, which we wrote about in today’s paper. William Safire, in a 2001 column in The Times, wrote about the rules of dictation for the place.

The Times‘s recording room has rules for those of us who have to phone in our copy when modems fail. “Say ‘period,’ ‘comma’ and all other punctuation,” Chris Campbell instructs. “Never say ‘quote-unquote’ unless that’s exactly what you want transcribed. Say ‘open quote’ before the quoted material and ‘close quote’ after it. At the end of a paragraph, say ‘graf’ or ‘new graf.”‘ Thus, I would dictate the Bible’s opening as “Cap I In the beginning no comma cap G God created the heaven and the earth period new graf cap A And the earth was without form comma and void semicolon and darkness begin itals was unitals upon the face of the deep period.” (I don’t know why the second was is in italics, but that’s how the King James Version has it.)