Dec 16, 2008

The movable copy desk

The six papers that make up the "Inland Division" of LANG are consolidating their copy desk functions in January to create a single uber-desk that will be based in West Covina. That means shipping the copy editors that serve the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, San Bernardino Sun and Redlands Daily Facts about 40 miles to the west and combining them with the copy editors that serve the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News.

No telling if they'll all survive the journey.

If this sounds familiar, it's because LANG has tried this before - just over a year ago, in fact. Only the movement was eastward. In August 2007 LANG shipped the San Gabriel Valley copy editors to San Bernardino. Five months later, the San Gabriel Valley copy desk was reestablished and the copy editors moved back.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not a copy editor, but copy editors at LANG papers seem to stay at their jobs longer than reporters. Someone who has actually spent, say, a month or two actually working in a newsroom needs to tell these people that the copy desk can be the papers' best store of institutional knowledge.

They also do crazy things like correct small, but embarrassing, errors and errors grammatical.

Leopold Loeb said...

Who needs copy editors, really. Reporters can double check their own work.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has worked as a reporter and a copy editor, some reporters/writers don't know the difference between: its, it's, there, their, or when to use who or which...or at least they continue to make the same mistake...Copy editors, and designers are an important part of our finished product as journalists, and should be respected for their work, just as reporters/writers should be for theirs.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ. Even the best writer makes mistakes and there's nothing like a second or third set of eyes to notice them and fix them.

Mark Masek said...

I think it's part of their master involuntary voluntary separation plan. Move an entire copy desk somewhere else. A few people will quit. Then move them back. Then move another entire copy desk somewhere else. A few people will quit. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Candide McLuhan said...

Who needs copy editors, really. User generated content is earthy, original, lively, folksy, unmediated, easy on the eyes and not properly interefered with by editors. Just let the user content generators generate their content. Get with it, dinosaurs.

Frederick Barney Chomsky said...

In the empty desks of transplanted copy editors, the one-eyed editor is king. For now. And is it 1313 Mockingbird Lane - or street? And how many copy editors do we really need when we cut back to three days a weekly publification. Txt me w ansr.

Anonymous said...

As a former reporter I can say that I was often so wrapped up in my stories, that I missed some of the errors I made. I often made the "its, it's" mistake along with a handful of others.

Copy editors, especially experienced editors, are essential to any publication.

I agree with Mark. I think they are trying to shake some of these editors off, like fleas on a dog.

Worse, they start making people afraid. Makes you wonder if they plan to move more people over. If they finally plan to follow through with their threat to close the Bulletin office down.

Maybe they sold the office and need to make room for those people.

Mark Masek said...

Copy editors do a heck of a lot more than fix grammar, move commas around and write headlines. Yes, reporters and metro editors do everything they can to make sure their stories are clear, accurate and complete before sending them to the copy desk. But I'm sure everyone who has worked at a newspaper for any length of time can come up with personal examples of someone on the copy desk finding and fixing a gaping hole in a story, correcting a libelous mistake, or asking questions and making suggestions to the reporter and the metro editor that improve a story. It's happened to me plenty of times, both as a reporter and as a copy editor. It's not an "us against them" situation. We're playing on the same team, everyone is valuable and everyone is important. Eliminating people weakens the product.

Anonymous said...

lang higher ups keep making decisions a first grader could make. moving functions from one location to another and back again shows a lack of planning and creativity. ask the advertising staff how their support has been over the past year. it is amazing that those higher ups are still employeed. what a joke, except, not so funny if you are working there.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunate for sure, but it's better than an announcement that copy desk functions are being consolidated in India.

Jack Knight Denver-Thomson said...

India ... doh! ... why didn't I think of that? Accounting ... get me rewrite!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone shed some logic on why they are moving copy desks to the dumpy old Trib building when the building Berdoo is only a few years old? Don't they print everything in Berdoo as well?

Gary Scott said...

Anonymous 10:54 a.m.: I won't try to lay out the logic, but in answer to your question about the printing presses: SGVN papers are printed in Valencia, along with the Daily News.

Anonymous said...

They tried this in the early 90s Thompson purchased the Star-News, it failed miserably.

They got rid of the press in Pasadena and the pagination system and tried to do it all in WestCo. Readers got the equivalent of a college papers as a result, in other they knocked the SN down to the Trib's level.

Anyone who thinks newspapers don't need copy desks, should get some rehab.

Oliver Humanzee said...

They're going to print the San Gabriel papers in India?

Anonymous said...

yep, and deliver them there too.

Anonymous said...

according to folks who subscribe to the newspapers...they would have a better chance getting them there on time than in langland.

Mike Rappaport said...

Everything put together falls apart.

The center cannot hold.

In the end, things very rarely happen because of great evil. The folks on the earlier topic who called Lambert "little Hitler" had it all wrong.

He's Renfield.

Anonymous said...

We can debate on the nicknames all we want, but suffice it to say, the executive group at LANG is very poor, afraid of their own shadow, and has yet to come up with an original idea that has worked. Cutting costs is not an original idea!

Can anyone out there please name an idea that has worked?

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