I’m New York’s copy chief, Carl Rosen. I have been at the magazine since 2000, and over these past decades I’ve seen New York — and my job description — expand to include six websites and regular newsletters. For the next installment in our subscriber-only newsletter series, I’m hosting a second edition of Queries: a limited-run subscriber-exclusive newsletter about language, grammar, and style. For five weeks, starting Wednesday, September 13, we’ll be diving into some thorny copy questions I encountered while working on recent issues of the magazine and answer some of your own. If you start your day with Wordle or post Instagram shots of bad grammar in subway ads, Queries is for you.
A copy chief’s job is to oversee the magazine’s style and grammar. Along with a team of ten copy editors, I make prescriptive corrections and suggest changes to help writers communicate more clearly with the reader. You may not expect this from a copy chief, but like Marie Kondo, I love mess. The greatest thrill of my job is diving into imperfect copy — I hate clean copy; the messier the better — and helping the voice of the writer come through. It’s a science and an art, and if you’re a word nerd like I am, you get that.