An elegy for copy editors

I was born to be a copy editor, and copy editing is what I’ve done most of my life, professional and non.

I still do it in my job now, with about half a dozen other jobs thrown on top.

Here is a tribute from The New York Times to those of my dying breed. It explains pretty succinctly what we do.

I agree with all but the last line: “If newspaper copy editors vanish from the earth, no one is going to notice.”

On the contrary, readers notice all the time, and are not hesitant to point out mistakes. Copy editors are seldom praised for their good work, for their good work makes them invisible. But they are often condemned for letting someone else’s errors through or when they make one of their own.

Thanks to NYT writer Lawrence Downes for this tribute.

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2 thoughts on “An elegy for copy editors

  • Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 10:41 am

    what a wonderful article…i love something that can make me feel and teach me something at the same time. now i know, and i’m so glad for the knowing.

  • Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    And you are one damn fine copy editor, at that, if I may say so.

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