More than once we've had occasion to mention an editorial position here at SI called the "final reader," more commonly known around the office as the "late reader." The late reader is our last line of defense, the strong safety, so to speak.
After writers, reporters, editors and copyreaders have all finished their work on our articles and they're deemed ready for the presses, the late reader sits down and reads every word of every piece going into the issue, in order to spot and correct those small but embarrassing mistakes that can sneak into copy and stay there no matter how many times a story has been edited, checked and proofread.
Although this is an arduous task, we have one person performing it because we want the final version of the magazine to be seen whole by a fresh eye—as it will be seen by you when you open the magazine.
Schuyler Bishop, our current late reader, is on the job Sunday morning and really moving into high gear when the sun goes down—Sunday is our heaviest closing day—and he still may have a story or two to go over as the sun comes up on Monday morning. (Monday afternoon may find him luxuriating in his tub with a Bloody Mary.)
January 9, 1984
Bishop, 34, brings three important things to the job: a nice feeling for language, a broad understanding of sports and amazing stamina. On Monday morning, when other staffers are groping around for a lifesaving cup of coffee, Bishop looks as fresh and vigorous as when he checks in on Sunday. He explains this by saying, cheerfully, "I love doing it. I like working intensely at something until it's done, and I've always enjoyed sitting at a desk, writing or reading. The writing I see in this job is so good that reading it is a pleasure. I don't like finding mistakes, but if I do spot a typo or some little error that slipped past everybody, I feel I've helped keep a good story good."
Schuyler's upbeat attitude and physical resiliency may stem from his childhood in Pelham, N.Y., where he grew up as one of six brothers. Members of large families usually learn not to be fazed by things that could seem overwhelming to others, though he was briefly unsettled on one occasion. Bishop, who has written several stories that have appeared in SI, also writes plays (as does his French-Canadian wife, Denise Collette), and his Brontosaurus Rex, a drama about a beleaguered gas-station operator, had a two-week run off-off-Broadway a couple of years ago. Audiences seemed to like it, Bishop says, but the one New York drama critic who reviewed the play, Mel Gussow of The New York Times, panned it. "I literally felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach when I read that," Bishop says, and then grins the wry grin of one who has been punched in the stomach before (I mean, five brothers?). "Now, rereading the review," he says, "I have to admit that Gussow made some good points."
Add one more important attribute to Bishop's list: an admirable objectivity.