Can we please bring copy editors back to the Wall Street Journal?

Because I act as my own copy editor, I know (and Hiram knows) how hard it is to catch errors in one’s own writing. But real newspapers used to have copy editors to do that job and, while I’m sympathetic to the financial woes of that industry, I can’t imagine copy editors are all that expensive. English majors, sadly, come cheap. 

So it’s ironic that in an article on a newspaper reporter becoming a strip club manager as a new career, the Journal prints this:

Soon afterwards, he was visiting Israel when the war with Hezbollah in Lebanon broke out, and to his surprise he found himself disinterested in covering it. “As much as I loved my job and was proud of what I’d done, I didn’t have the urge anymore to run up to the border and explain it all to the American people and then come back and brag about how I’d been shot at,” he says.

A beauty contest judge at a strip joint should be disinterested but not, one hopes, uninterested. In the burned-out reporter’s case, it would be quite the other way around.


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3 responses to “Can we please bring copy editors back to the Wall Street Journal?

  1. Paco

    It’s not just the proofreading that’s gone by the wayside at the WSJ. There are content errors galore.

    I pointed out a material factual error to a WSJ reporter this week. The reporter promptly and politely acknowledged that I was correct and indicated he would change the online copy immediately. Three days later the article is still on their web site with no corrections.

    My impression is that they’ve hired a lot of contract reporters who are ignorant of financial and investment matters to turn out brief, throwaway McArticles from home computers (no offense) and suburban cubicle complexes. It’s sad. I’ve been a WSJ reader more than thirty years, but when my online subscription expires next week I’m not renewing.

  2. Hiram

    Thanks for the acknowledgment (or acknowledgement, if that’s your spelling preference). Unfortunately, the distinction between uninterested and disinterested is probably already lost. I notice, for example, that the very permissive dictionary that comes with my MacBook allows the definition of disinterested that you complain about. I agree with you on this one, but it may be a lost cause. People love the prefix “dis-.”

  3. Red

    I think you can give Rupert Murdoch some of the credit for slippage at the WSJ. What did they expect when they sold themselves to him? (Not an increase in proofreader positions, that’s for sure.)

    Cheer up, Paco, you can switch over to the FT.