WVPA Convention

Do we undervalue our editors and copy desk staff?

A blog by Don Smith, WVPA Executive Director:

Posted on Feb. 9, 2014.

With newspapers competing for audience share in today’s 24-hour cycle, in newsrooms around the state, our editors  and copy desk staffers are being challenged to maintain our journalist standards on multiple platforms: print editions, online editions and various forms of social media.

Today’s readers expect immediate posts, repeated updates, expanded details and, we hope, the full story in print.  Demands on reporters, copy editors and editors reflect the readers’ expectations.

In our newsrooms, our editors at all levels are charged with meeting those expectations without error but with creativity. Despite staffing cuts and these additional duties, editors and the copy desks constantly are asked to look into the future and develop new products and initiatives that will build readership and circulation.  During that workday, if time allows, our editors hope to work with reporters to improve their writing skills and news sense.

Considering the job description, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if staff turnover on the copy desk seems high.

I encourage publishers and managing editors to look at staffing levels on your copy desk and do everything possible to retain these key staff members.

Not only do quality editors and copy desk staffers help build a newspaper’s readership, reputation, staff skills and new products, they also keep your newspaper away from embarrassing and costly mistakes, liable charges, and other potential lawsuits.

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