I Need to Make Sure You Know This One Thing About Editors

Jaime L. Brockway
3 min readAug 30, 2023

Recently, there was yet another round of layoffs in the editing world.

While it’s just the latest event in a yearslong trend, I wanted to say something about it nonetheless.

So I dropped work on my website redesign — coming in mid-September! — to hit you with this important broadcast … slash rant.

Here it is.

The first roles media companies tend to cut in times of financial struggle include copy editors.

These companies don’t want to reduce the quantity of content they publish. Unfortunately, that often means reducing the quality instead.

Last week the Texas Tribune laid off 11 employees, including its entire copy desk. (So long, copy editors who help to make sure the news is clear and accurate!)

In June of this year, the Los Angeles Times cut 74 employees, and nearly a third came from news and copy editor ranks.

The trimming of editorial staff has been happening for years and years.

I was leading the copy desk at Time Out in 2017 when The New York Times cut its copy department, letting go of more than 100 copy editors.

The same thing is happening in the indie book world.

When times are tough, self-publishing authors can’t afford every round of editing. So they pass on a copy edit or proofread, or they combine edits.

(You all know how I feel about combo line and copy edits.)

I understand that, and I would much rather you share your stories with the world than not at all.

But I just want to make sure you know one thing:

*Copyediting and other forms of editing are important. They provide value. They provide quality assurance.*

And they do so across industries, increasing sales and readership.

  • Women are 81% less likely to buy a product advertised with spelling or grammar errors, and 77% of men agree.
  • Likewise, readers reported that poor writing, bad writing, grammar, spelling errors, mistakes, and language cause them to stop reading a book.
  • Copyediting upholds the integrity of journal articles, one study found.
  • Participants in another study “gave higher ratings to journalistic stories that had been edited than those that hadn’t.”

All of those surveys and studies show the efficacy of human editing, not AI or editing software — which is another important broadcast/rant I’ll grace you with later.

That’s all, folks.

Cheers,

Jaime

P.S. If you 100% believe in the power of editing and want me to edit your next project, don’t hesitate! Fill out this form.

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Jaime L. Brockway

Copy editor with 10 years’ experience. Former National Copy Chief of Time Out North America. Semicolon lover, despite what Kurt Vonnegut said.