Down memory lane
As I was doing some research tonight, I came across this from an article:
Yet many copy editors sense that managers overlook their contributions when promotions open up.And then there was this:
And that's just one of their frustrations. After years of adapting to pagination and surviving staff restructuring, downsizing, redesigns and tacked-on new-media responsibilities, many copy editors in St. Petersburg concluded that the critical copy-editing function demands reappraisal by, and renewed appreciation from, editors and publishers alike. ...
Yet copy editors suffer an "abysmal lack of respect. ... Now to this perennial problem have been added two huge new ones, newsroom downsizing and pagination, a technological revolution that ironically increased the workload on the copy desk while reducing the newspaper's overall payroll."
The case for elimination of the copy desk is being argued in newsrooms and in trade journals, and the following are some of the sometimes contradictory points that have been made:OK, so where did I find those?
Eliminating the copy desk will not eliminate copyediting. Newspapers might as well eliminate copyeditors because copyeditors no longer have time to edit.
Pagination has spelled the end of copyediting as we know it. Newspapers don't need copyeditors because reporters should be able to provide clean copy.
Copyeditors should be shifted to (take your pick) design desks, originating desks or topic teams, because that's where they belong.
The first is from the NAA's Presstime of November 1997. (The quote is from Gene Forman, then deputy editor and vice president of the Philadelphia Inquirer.)
The second? John Russial's important academic study and argument "Goodbye copy desks, hello trouble?" from Newspaper Research Journal in spring 1998.
And now we'd probably look back on those as the halcyon days!