By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A world without editors

Jeff Jarvis argues in his Guardian column that editors are becoming obsolete. These days, he says, we write first and edit later, often in response to what our readers tell us.

The Jarvis system works for a certain type of journalism (mainly short, bloggy-type stuff like this), but it wouldn’t work for everything. I can’t imagine a major investigative series coming together without deep involvement on the part of skilled editors. Then again, that’s the sort of journalism most endangered in the current environment.

And it would seem to me that an editor whose intervention prevented a libel suit has just covered her salary for the next five years.

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Where does Rupert get his ideas?


Credit where it’s due


  1. Doug Shugarts

    Chris Hedges had an interesting piece a few weeks ago in which he wrote:“Journalism is about transmitting information that doesn’t care what you think. Reporting challenges, countermands or destabilizes established beliefs.”I think Hedges is right. At a time when many ‘news’ orgs pander to certain constituencies (conservative, liberal, etc.) the need for editors who help journalists maintain independence is acute.

  2. mike_b1

    Editors are by no means obsolete, but good copy editors just might be MIA, judging by the outbreak of “and also’s” and “lag behind’s” in Sunday’s Globe.

  3. Robin Edgar

    Judging from the many spelling errors and typos, to say nothing of erroneous or poorly worded headlines, that I have seen in newspapers or online on supposedly serious news sites we are now living in a world without proofreaders and copy editors. . .

  4. Peter Porcupine

    Robin – actually, we’re living in a world of spellcheck addicts.When my children groused about English/spelling homework, I pointed out to them that for my entire working life, I have had well-paid superiors come to me humbly to proof their letters, as their machines couldn’t differentiate between Red and Read or Their and There. I asked them if they would like to have to come to somebody like me once they entered the World of Work.Kept ’em slaving away for years!

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