The Winston-Salem Journal was one of several fine newspapers in North Carolina. A friend who used to work there sent me a link to Tommy Tomlinson’s blog post that includes a video about the management of that newspaper deciding to kill its in-house copy desk. The video is moving and sad, the story unbelievable. For now, apparently, the pared-down copy desk has a sort of reprieve. Outsourcing still looms.
Two things once restrained media companies’ legendary greed: the competition, which forced investments and standards; and the fact that they made so much money they could afford to have professional standards, if not pride. They still make money, just not bucketfuls, but, with the collapse of other print organs, they can gut newspapering’s evolved support network almost without shame. I loved newspapers before I worked in them and cannot help but see these as dark days for our republic.