Ian Fleming’s gift to copy editors

For copy editors, a gift that keeps go on giving

The gift that keeps on giving

For copy editors, From Russia, With Love, the title of Ian Fleming’s fifth James Bond novel, is the gift that keeps on giving.

Since the 1957 publication of the book, and its 1963 movie adaptation, From Russia, With Love (with or without comma) has proven irresistible to those who edit copy, lay out pages and write the headlines that accompany stories. Tools of the copy editor’s trade include puns and movie and books titles. They’re ways to grab the attention of readers, to entice the audience to invest their precious time.

As a result, anytime a story concerns anything Russian, copy editors have been known to channel their inner Ian Fleming. A few examples:

— Sports Illustrated, May 6, 2013 issue: The NHL Playoff review includes a feature story about Alex Ovechkin, the Russian-born star of the Washington Capitals professional hockey team. The headline? From Russia With Love.

— The New York Times, MARCH 30, 2003: The paper carries a ballet review written from St. Petersburg, Russia. The headline? From Russia With Love.

— The New York Times, July 4, 2004: The paper carries A TWO-PARAGRAPH LETTER TO THE EDITOR complaining about a monument on the Jersey City waterfront. The headline? From Russia With Love: A Teardrop Memorial.

— The Washington Post, July 27, 2008: The paper has a story about NASTIA LIUKIN, A RUSSIAN-BORN GYMNAST COMPETING FOR THE U.S. The headline? From Russia With Love.

— The Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2006: The paper has a story about “resplendent Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky” performing in Washington. The headline? From Russia With Love and Patriotism.

— Time magazine, Dec. 6, 2010: The publication has a story about a scandal involving a Russian-born aide to a member of Parliament. The headline? From Russia With Love: Could a British Aide Have Been a Spy? Double bonus: it carries a publicity still of Daniel Craig from Casino Royale.

One Response

  1. There was also an exhibition of Russian art in London called ‘From Russia’.

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