Monday, July 6, 2009

And I Thought Writers Just Found Copy Editors Annoying ...

The Washington Post had a good piece a few days ago about an increasing number of typos in their paper -- a trend that corresponds with a decrease in the number of copy editors there.

The article cites a decade-old study that emphasizes how messy copy can hurt a newspaper's bottom line (that means money, to all you publisher types). The idea is that "each misspelled word, bad apostrophe, garbled grammatical construction, weird cutline and mislabeled map erodes public confidence in a newspaper's ability to get anything right."

In times of extreme austerity, I tend to think of quality control as a luxury. I figure it's better to have good reporting with a few typos than to have pristinely edited fluff -- or worse. So it never occurred to me that copy editing is so integral to a news agency's money-making ability.

Maybe if this idea catches on I could someday be emboldened to ask for help paying for health insurance.


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