don’t cut the copy editors

A writer friend tipped me off to Sunday’s Washington Post ombudsman column, which addresses the increasing number of typos in the paper. The apparent cause? A combination of fewer copy editors on staff and more “multiplatform” duties for the ones who remain. As my friend said, it’s nice to see someone say on the record that staff cutbacks impact quality.

It’s funny — my first job was on a copy desk of three people. Every publication I’ve worked on since has relied on its writers and editors to catch mistakes, in lieu of even a single full-time copy editor. It can seem like an easy way to cut corners, but a publication does so at its own peril.


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