Monday, July 6, 2009
The chickins come home to roots
As an old copy editor, I couldn't help feeling a pang of schadenfreude at the Washington Post ombudsman's admission yesterday that more and more readers are complaining about an increasing number of typos, grammatical errors and errors of fact in the newspaper.
But what do you expect when, to save money, a newspaper cuts its copyediting staff in half? The work load doubles for the survivors -- and even triples. Copy editors are now expected to design pages and find art for them, and often have to wear multiple hats as section editors (one book review editor I know has to edit the real estate section as well, and sub for the weekend features editor from time to time).
Let's face it. For a newspaper, maintaining a high quality of reliability is labor-intensive. Without that, its credibility will take an enormous hit.
A loss of credibility means a loss of readers. And a loss of readers means a loss of ad income, and a loss of ad income means . . .
For the want of a few copy editors, a newspaper could well go under.