This morning’s first session for me was by Leslie-Jean Thornton of Arizona State on how copy editing might evolve as content migrates to and evolves on the Web.
This, I thought, was a great point: Too much content online seems to appear automagically. There is often no process in place to ensure that nontraditional content — stuff that isn’t stories — meets our standards. In other words, gets edited. Copy editors need to step into that breach. We shouldn’t wait for someone to design a process that brings that content to our attention. We need to demand access to the systems that allows us to make that stuff right. We need to insert ourselves into the process.
Packaging is also a problem, Thornton noted. As the various pieces fall into place in templates automatically, editors often aren’t paying attention to whether they all make sense together. Many times, they don’t. How do we manage that packaging? Sometimes, it is actually impossible, given the configuration of our systems. But it can be so bad, it’s impossible to just let it slide forever. There is room for growth here and work for copy editors. We just need to make the case for how bad things are and help our newsrooms envision the solutions.