Monday, June 16, 2008

The vanishing copy editor

I once was a newspaper copy editor, a job that is rapidly disappearing along with that of the investigative reporter as the Internet trashes news organizations. Our careful, painstaking, unsung labor of helping sentences make sense, checking facts, doing the math, and sticking enticing headlines on the stories we shepherded is no longer valued in an industry in financial turmoil.

Now Lawrence Downes of the New York Times, an old copy editor himself, writes an elegy to our breed in an op-ed piece in today's Times.

Shed a tear. Nobody will remember us, especially reporters, though once they depended on us to save their sorry, sloppy hides.

[June 22: Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post tells why he won't mis coppy dtors anymor.]

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