In June Gannett Co. plans to consolidate copy editing and page production of four of its New Jersey newspapers: the Asbury Park Press of Neptune, Home News Tribune of East Brunswick, the Courier News of Somerville, and the Daily Record of Parsippany. The entire regional operation will move to the offices of the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, New Jersey.
The papers' copy-editing management jobs will be eliminated then replaced with sixteen jobs in Neptune. All hiring will be from within, but the employees must transfer to Neptune. Ten managers will lose their jobs as a result of the rehiring, and they, along with workers who do not accept the transfer, will receive severance packages.
As newspapers are forced to make cutbacks due to falling circulation and decreased advertising revenue, many publications are reducing their editing teams. This week the Independent transferred subediting duties to desk editors, and earlier this month the Financial Times asked reporters to edit their own work.
There has been much debate lately over the role of the copy editor and whether the job is essential to a publication or redundant. Guardian blogger Roy Greenslade has been a constant proponent of eradicating the positions of subeditors to save money, while others disagree that this could be detrimental to the quality of journalism.
Though perhaps editorial standards might have dropped on the web, print publications especially are still expected to maintain these standards, and many would argue that flawless copy is crucial to a professional, respectable publication. However, the question still remains as to how necessary the actual copy editor is to maintaining the standard. Will fewer copy editors mean more mistakes and a sloppier result, or can fewer copy editors do the job just as well as many?
Source: Associated Press