Despite what people in the comments section might say, the New York Times has one of the most elite editing staffs in the media. Editing is paramount to newspapers, mostly because there is no way to lose credibility faster than to use “effect” instead of “affect” or to leave a dangling modifier. And the editors serve a function more important than just making small grammar adjustments; they often are able to catch factual or structural errors that would otherwise be missed. Despite all of this, editors, and copyeditors especially, have been hit particularly hard by the changes in news media. Speed is becoming more important, and a larger portion of content is produced in video format.
Most recently, the Times public editor Liz Spayd wrote “A Hard Look at Times Editing in the Digital Era,” which reveals plans to make changes on the editorial side of the paper. The article makes clear that they value high-quality editing, but it is not particularly optimistic overall. One paragraph is particularly telling:
“The question is no longer whether the editing ranks will be squeezed. It is: How will it happen, when will it happen and how many positions will be lost?”
The Times has not yet laid out their full plans for rearranging the editing desk. There is just cause for this, as the news industry is indisputably different from how it was even 10 years ago. Still, it is a worrying prospect that perhaps speed will be prioritized over editing.
Despite all of this, copyediting will not disappear any time soon. For anyone interested in the field, CALA offers:
And if you are interested in looking at courses the address the digital changes coming to media, we have: