Copy Editing with The New York Times

Speakers: Susan Wressling and Sarah Graham

There are 130 copy editors at the New York Times and they are the same questions as all publications: How do we edit online?

The New York Times has not yet figured out how to keep up with the constant flow and competition modern news brings. When reporters are constantly posting new stories, facebook updates and tweets, how are copy editors supposed to keep up?

The NYT is a highly respected paper, but have lost many readers, or have been threatened with the loss of many readers do to sloppy copy editing. They have received countless e-mails from readers who have noticed little mistakes. But the editors must ask themselves what is more important: speed or grammatical and stylistic accuracy?

The answer is sometimes one more than the other. Editors must ask themselves if getting a story out is important enough to “look dumb.”

Why not have both? Well Susan and Sarah said the model just hasn’t been perfected yet. But that transparency is key. Never simply correct something, but write a redaction, leave the mistake so that readers know you know you made the mistake and are not trying to hide it.



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