20.384 is editing obsolete?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 09:17:40 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 384.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 08:56:51 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: is editing obsolete?

  From an Intl Herald Trib article on the future of Time magazine:

"At Time, Stengel has moved swiftly. In the past six months, the huge
rate base of Time magazine has been cut by almost 20 percent, the street
date has been moved, and at the end of the month, the standard editorial
model -- a centralized, well-paid cadre processing every bit of copy
that appears in print -- will be kaput, replaced by a leaner enterprise
built on star voices who will presumably get less editing."

May I offer what I might call a "Willard wonder" -- is editing obsolete?
Do we believe that the disintermediation of instant publishing is so
powerful that we can do without intrusive, expensive, fact-checking,
fussbudgets? If the blogosphere at one end of the spectrum and Time,
once upon a time certainly a very aggressively edited magazine to the
point that it had a recognizable and highly parody-able voice, can do
without, who can and will afford to retain the practice?

I say this hoping there will be a good answer. I think of the classic
benefits of editors, and was indeed remarking to myself just the other
day that the Economist sustains a highly effective editing hand, one
that never dumbs down but always clarifies and makes reasonable. There
are other famous examples and practitioners, but who will pay for them?
When might it become again a competitive advantage to be better-written
than the next website?

Jim O'Donnell
Georgetown U.
Received on Tue Jan 09 2007 - 04:34:57 EST

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