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.