Wednesday, January 30, 2008

So, copy editors, what now?

If you already have read my earlier post "I need a new decoder ring," take a turn back and read it again.

John McIntyre has posted a great response at his Baltimore Sun blog.

There have been some excellent comments.

I've made some more suggestions about an ISO9000-like program for copy desks -- maybe newsrooms in general?

Over at Testy Copy Editors, there is a long thread going on the future of copy editing. Some of it touches on what I've written here. Some of it is very sobering:
  • The major metro that once had 40 copy editors and now has 15.
  • Comments like:
    • "I think copy editing as we know it might be gone in the next decade."
    • "An occasional $700,000 libel settlement is cheaper than paying for a copy desk" (in commenting on management attitudes)
    • "If you read what our owners are writing in their memos, they explicitly state that they want to eliminate the 'culture' of copy editing as well as the jobs. They really want us to stop giving a damn about the language, balance and reliability of the facts."
  • I think Brian Cubbison of Syracuse nailed a lot of it when he wrote: "The job is definitely changing. A reporter who posts to a blog is taking care of the layout, pagination and even headline writing. It's important for copy editors to separate the journalism from the pica pole, and to figure out exactly where the journalism is being done."
We need to have a long conversation on this. Let's start it now and take it up when those of us who can gather in Denver for the ACES conference -- and then begin to do something.

I've shut off commenting on this post because I would like you to post any comments on the original post -- that way we can have one thread and a better conversation. I hope you will allow me that little bit of editorial control.

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