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.

1 comment:

  1. One of my biggest pet peeves is typos. Especcially in books. I was recently reading a book and the suspect's name was switched out with the main character for a couple sentences. I had a hard time finishing the book. If they don't care enough to get it right, why should I read what they write?