Thursday, September 07, 2006

Outsourcing, "suspected terrorists" and copy editor salaries

Doug Fisher has been en fuego lately at Common Sense Journalism.

First, read his take on the fears of copy editing being outsourced.
Copy editors need to start promoting their "brand" a lot more heavily and what they can bring to any publication. Too often, however, they revel in their anonymity. That will not serve them well. ... Copy editors are likely to find their jobs changing radically in the next decade, yet their core principles need not, and should not. To survive, they must be able to distinguish the two and accommodate those changes while promoting themselves as a value proposition, not a cost center.
Then check out his reminder that a "suspected terrorist" is different than a "terrorism suspect." It may seem a subtle difference, but ignoring it is sloppy.

Finally, look at the mention of the Toledo Blade's ad disclosing some employee salaries: The "top scale salary" (what exactly does that mean?) for a copy editor is $59,561. Compare that with the top minimum pay for reporters at the Blade in 2003: $54,704. (I'm not entirely sure that "top scale salary" and "top minimum pay" are comparable, but I suspect they are. If so, that would be the least amount the paper would pay an experienced copy editor.)


At 5:20 PM, September 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have long thought copy editors ought to start a file - maybe we could even do it here - where you give your age, years of experience in journalism, general circulation figure of your paper, region of country (large Northeast city, etc.) and how much you make a year. All anonymously. It sure would go a long way toward us helping each other know how we're doing instead of just guessing. Is this be something people would be interested in doing?

At 5:51 PM, September 07, 2006, Blogger Nicole said...

I'd be more than happy to publish the results, and I promise to keep everything anonymous.

A colleague and I considered doing a full-scale nationwide survey to get a feel for some of this, but we got sidetracked sometime in 2004. It would still be a good idea, though.

At 11:05 PM, September 23, 2006, Anonymous rknil said...

None of that will matter, though, unless there's a push to get higher salaries. Copy editors already proved when times were "good" that they wouldn't push for better pay or to get nonsensical workloads changed. They certainly won't have any better luck when newspapers are looking to cut wherever possible. The barn doors have been open for some time, and the horses have long since crossed into the next county.

At 9:50 AM, September 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the poster above. It's been my experience that as a group, we're the meekest folks in a newsroom and are treated accordingly.


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