Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | July 24, 2009

Editors are important, part 53

Gerri Berendzen writes at the American Copy Editors Society’s Board Notes blog that her argument that copy editing is important because quality counts in newspapers is gaining some traction:

Growing numbers of readers are contacting the Washington Post ombudsman to complain about typos and errors, which Alexander wrote “seem to have increased in recent months.”

[Washington Post ombudsman Andrew] Alexander defends the Post’s copy editors as among the best in the business, but notes “they’ve been badly depleted by staff cuts as the money-losing paper struggles to control costs.”

Berendzen continues:

Add to that article this bit of research on newsroom cuts in general from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri: “Newsroom cuts are the most costly on revenues.”

The RJI article, “What Happens When Newspapers Cut Back on Marketing Investments? An Empirical Analysis,” notes that their research shows a 1 percent cut in newsroom expenditures led to a bigger drop in revenue and profits than an equal cut in sales force or distribution expenditures.

It might be difficult to quantify editors’ contributions at newspapers — or anywhere — but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re dispensable.

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