Weekend Worriers (journalism)

I didn’t want to bundle this in with the previous worries because I find this more disturbing personally.

In last Sunday’s Times Liz Spayd took “A Hard Look at Times Editing in the Digital Era” by in her “Public Editor” column.

As many of you know, newspapers are bleeding out. Attrition is claiming many victims as print media slowly dwindles.

From the article:

Its editing architecture, originally constructed in the bountiful days of print, allows for multiple layers of editing that help keep copy clean and errors to a minimum. Except for breaking news, most stories are reviewed by three editors, with up to six or more if the article is headed for home page prominence or A1.

Soon this conveyor will be replaced by a bespoke editing system built primarily around digital. The specifics of how it will work are not final, but it is aimed at answering questions like: What is the maximum speed at which a story should travel from a reporter to the website? What is the minimum number of editors who should see it? What role should reporters play in taking ownership of their story and its presentation to readers, including photos, video and embedded tweets? And how can these changes be made to maximize the power and presence of visuals throughout The Times’s report?

Emphasis added.

I left my editorial post in September (somewhat unwillingly, but stuff happens) as did another person who was an excellent “set of eyes” for all aspects: stories, advertisements, etc. The managing editor left a few months later. It’s not sour grapes to point out that there are a lot more mistakes getting through since the new management came on board. In my travels I frequently come across subscribers who ask, “What happened to the paper?” and pointing out how the publication has shrunk and the flubs that get through. Well, what do you expect when you let go the people who are charged with protecting the product?

Just makes me more worried about ever finding a job like I had if this is going to be the new normal.



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