Freelance journalist Jessanne Collins on what it’s like to work as a copy editor for Demand Media’s websites:
I was to be an intermediary between the web at large and the raw, reliably weird substance that results from the unlikely union of algorithmically created topic assignments and writers of, shall we say, widely variable competence. The actual nuts and bolts of style consistency and tone were part of it, of course. But they seemed to be peripheral to what I was actually being asked to do, which was to quality-check each piece of content according to a set of generic yet meticulously detailed standards. It fell on my shoulders to ensure not just that no dangling modifiers marred any directories of Jacuzzi-having hotels, but that the piece wasn’t plagiarised, written off the top of some Jacuzzi-having hotel aficionado’s head, based on obvious or non-information, referencing other websites, or plagued by any of the other myriad atrocities that web content can be subject to these days.
Full story on The Awl at this link…
Nieman Journalism Lab looks at the changing role and value of the copy editor and sub-editor as so-called “content factories” like Demand Media and Associated Content expand to meet demands for “newsy” rather than “news” content online:
(…) that newsy, but more evergreen content on everything from going green to health to potty training to TV buying is building a great annuity for the company; it’s long tail monetisable for a long time.
(…) This wide disparity in editing editorial content isn’t wildly surprising; the disparity has grown markedly over the last decade, and certainly the blogosphere making each one of us our own editors has taught us new, uneasy conventions. We’ve gained a lot in the free and easy flow on web-enabled writing and publishing. We’ve clearly lost something too, as finding (and paying for) an intelligent second set of eyes has become a luxury.
That’s left me wondering exactly what value is in good editing. Are there any Newsonomics of editing, value to be gained and harvested?
Full story at this link…