Monday, October 22, 2007

The Copy Editor: "Eliminating Fixed Costs"?

Last Friday, I posted an entry on the American Copy Editors Society's Discussion Board. I had read a Bloomberg article in which Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group detailed how it hopes to triple sales from its Internet sites by 2012. The president of MediaNews, Joseph Lodovic, said: "We have to find ways to grow revenue or become more efficient by eliminating fixed costs." He went on to say: "Why does every newspaper need copy editors? In this day and age, I think copy-editing can be done centrally for several newspapers." I found that to be an amazing comment. I raised that question on the ACES discussion board and invited responses. I said that in light of the fact that I had a loved one working at one of those papers, I would not post my own thoughts. My posting sparked comments and a number of postings on other people's blogs. John McIntyre, the Baltimore Sun's assistant managing editor for the copy desk (and former president of ACES), weighed in on his blog with this entry, titled "Just sack all the editors." Pam Robinson, founder and former president of ACES, wrote her take on her blog, "Words at Work." University of South Carolina journalism professor Doug Fisher issued his "Clarion call for copy editors" on the matter. And McIntyre links to an interesting article on "Grade the News" about the problems, including a destruction of credibility, that occurred when MediaNews papers in the Bay Area combined their copy desk operation. They're worth reading. Check them out.