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Maybe newspapers need more, not fewer, editors looking over writers’ work 6/1/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Editors.

In these days of cutbacks at newspapers, bean-counting thinking is understandably setting-in, and it was inevitable that cutting the editor-to-reporter ratio was bound to become a prerogative. According to Jeff Jarvis, Rupert Murdoch is complaining that 8.3 editors touch the average Wall Street Journal article, and the NY Times has three editors for every reporter.

But looking beyond this short-lived age of the bean-counter, when papers must cut their costs, toward the long-term when they must build their businesses, let’s ask this question: Who will add more value to an online publication, an editor or an internal writer? In an age when every news source, down to individual citizens, can publish and distribute their own stories, who needs reporters to rewrite them? A more valuable news outlet staffer is one who can aggregate the stories told by outsiders – culling them down for a specific audience — and adding opinion, style, and creative flair. Ultimately, the most dispensable layer in future news outlets may be the reporter, not the editor.


1. chris b - 6/2/08

This makes perfect sense. The reason I go to Instapundit sveral times a week is that I’ve determined that Glenn Reynolds is a “good” editor, that is, he seems to have links to stories I find useful and informative. I’ve pretty much given up on the WSJ and NYT after reading them religiously for 25 years.

2. Johnny Cache - 6/2/08

I agree.

3. meltaylor - 6/7/08

call me crazy, but have you noticed the substantial increase of text lay-out errors in the WSJ lately ?

i even see alot more graphical errors.

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