Dumbing down the copy desk

Dateline: Mon 06 Apr 2009

As has been reported on Gannetblog, changes are afoot regarding key copy editing jobs in the G-empire.

For months now, I've heard rumors that the Indianapolis Star would become a hub center for copy editing --- collapsing operations at smaller papers around Indiana as well as possibly consolidating work from the Louisville Courier Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer. There's no way around this strategy: it means more layoffs, more loss, more people being let go -- and more errors.

A source speculates that since consolidation of the finance operations and Regional Toning Center have gone well, financially, it's only a matter of time before the copy desk gets squished. Some say the same fate awaits the photo desk; again, it's only a matter of time.

This is another tragedy for quality journalism. Skilled copy editors are the ultimate firewall between reporters and errors; they have saved the bacon of many a journalist who took liberties or was under the pressure of deadline, and my own gratitude, along with thousands of others, is never-ending. A good copy editor, who knows his/her city, its players, spellings of names, grammar, language, including slang, is worth her/his weight in rubies.

Leave it to Gannett to dismiss their talents and contributions, and to collapse such a vital role into another effort to save (or make) money.


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