Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Local, local, local — copy editors

Recall a report a few weeks in which the president of MediaNews Group was quoted as having said, "We have to find ways to grow revenue or become more efficient by eliminating fixed costs. Why does every newspaper need copy editors? In this day and age, I think copy-editing can be done centrally for several newspapers.''

Two days later an assistant managing editor of the Baltimore Sun, (where The Guild represents 500+ employees) blasted the MN Suit in a column titled "Just Sack all the Editors": the Suit "appears to understand money, his grasp of newspaper production seems less secure. To start with, if intensive local coverage — the current industry mantra — is the future of daily newspapers, then they will need local copy editors." (Check out the comments there too.)

Anyway, at The Committee of Concerned Journalists' website you'll find "Copy Editors: Keep them ... and keep them local" where a journalism professor writes: "If newspapers and Web sites are getting increasingly local in their coverage to survive, shouldn’t we also have copy editors become increasingly local? Instead of consolidating copy desks, why not have copy editors work more closely with reporters, not only in the main newsroom but also in newspaper bureaus? ... As stated by the Committee of Concerned Journalists, 'journalism’s first loyalty is to citizens.' Diminishing the role of the copy desk and divorcing editing from reporting are betrayals of that loyalty."

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