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Too many of YOU folks!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Joe Williams, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Fellow writers and I long have patted ourselves on the backs by saying, in regards to editors (copy and beyond): "I like our chances of doing their jobs better than I like their chances of doing ours." But now, instead of writers eyeing fellow writers when they point their fingers at slackers, deadwood, old farts and teacher's pets and pine for opportunities in a stagnant business, maybe the writers will start to see the editors as basted turkeys, a la Newman carnivorously drooling over Kramer in that Seinfield episode.

    And, to be fair, vice versa.

    Check out this journo blogger and his suggestion that the editing ranks are the herds that need to be thinned, not just the writers or the old-timers:


    “How many people have to read a story before it goes in the paper?” asked a senior editor at a major metropolitan daily who is struggling to sustain the quality of his news report in an era of shrinking resources. “If we have to economize, the editing process is the place. Why do we have all these people processing stories after a reporter writes it? They are not producing anything that will get us traffic on the web.”

  2. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I'd like to see his tune after he misspells a source's name and said source and his friends and family and their brothers and kids all call and complain, followed up by an advertiser threatening to pull out.

    Perhaps we should start thinning out exorbitant compensation packages for the bean counters.
  3. pallister

    pallister Guest

    In theory, that senior editor is right. As resources dwindle, editing, just like everything else, is going to be sacrficed. There's no way around it. The real problem, though, is not so much that there are too many people editing copy, it's that many of those people aren't good copy editors.
  4. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I would agree with the notion that it doesn't require four people to read a 12-inch gamer. I would disagree with the notion that two people can do it all themselves.

    I think the issue that needs to be taken care of in all these buyouts are the general assignment guys who cover a niche sport for 15 weeks and are just sitting around through the other 37. Sure, that gives more responsibility to other writers, but really, why have one guy on the small Division I beat and another guy on the minor league baseball beat when you could have one guy do both?

    That's a business decision I don't have a problem with. I would have a problem, though, when the same guy is asked to pick up the minor league baseball, small Division I college, high school basketball and boxing beats. That's too much.
  5. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    It's ironic that, as some of the comments pointed out, he had a typo in his chart. He argues that since papers allow writers to post directly to the web site, then that copy should be good enough for print as well. Of course, this completely ignores the impermanence of content on the Web. You catch a typo or factual error online, you change it in 10 seconds, and no one is the wiser. You can't do that in print. It's the same reason that television gets away with little mistakes more easily than print, since it only lasts for a moment. And to say that copy editors don't produce anything that will get traffic on the web is asinine. They are producing accuracy and credibility, and people prefer their sources of news to be accurate and credible.
  6. Italian_Stallion

    Italian_Stallion Active Member

    Following CNN's lead, I think we should open up the editing process to i-Editors. We could offer the opportunity to come into the newsroom in the same manner that police officers do ride-alongs. Except, we'll hand them stories to edit.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Content providers > Content non-providers
  8. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    I'm a discontent provider.
  9. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    Note that the person being quoted is a "senior editor," not a writer or reporter. Is an editor going to catch a misspelled name? Probably not in my department.

    To me, this all goes back to accountability -- as does the "your fault" thread, which has reporters and copy editors blaming each other for mistakes in the paper.

    If nothing happens to the reporter who consistently makes factual (or even repeated grammatical) errors, why would s/he examine his (or her) own habits and make changes? The same applies to the desker who introduces errors into copy or fails to catch the non-factual mistakes that are already there.
  10. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    I think this is precisely what is happening in many larger sports departments. Go dig around a little and look at some of the bigger papers where they've had reporters leave in the past 6 months to a year. A t least a few have re-assigned GA/enterprise reporters to the vacated beats and moved on without filling the GA/enterprise position.

    Those takeout writing slots at newspapers are about to be a thing of the past, which stinks for those of us who sort of envisioned that kind of gig as our ultimate job. Guess we'll have to find a plum magazine job.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Is there really a paper in America that would have one person covering a mid-major college 365 days a year and/or one person covering a minor-league baseball team year-round?
  12. Our sports department has, maybe, two people proofing stories -- while they're laying out pages and taking calls.

    Now, the news side...We always joke (under our breath) that there are as many editors as reporters. I know I'm being kind of a jerk, but if you're an editor without pagination or management duties, do you really take 40 hours a week to edit stories and work with reporters? It's just kind of hard to believe.

    Again, this is just news, but here's their editors' schedule:

    Get there around 9:30ish
    Go to 10 a.m. planning meeting for an hour.
    Screw around for an hour until lunch.
    After getting back from lunch work on stuff until the 4 p.m. planning meeting.
    Work from 5ish to 7ish.
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