Monday, June 16, 2008

Surprise. We're Not There.

Lawrence Downes always has something intelligent to say. Here's more proof.

I went to the Newseum, a shiny new building in Washington that news companies and foundations have erected as a shrine to their industry. Since it’s my industry, too, I thought a museum, where sacred relics and texts have been placed safely in the equivalent of a big glass jar, might make me hopeful about the future.

“Where’s the section on copy editing?” I asked the guy at the entrance.

Over the weekend, I'd planned to comment on the incongruity of a museum devoted to journalism and the First Amendment refusing to discuss its attendance but Downes' piece stands out on its own.

This lack of recognition for copy editors is why ACES was formed and awards prizes and scholarships. The industy has simply failed to recognize our value and now, thanks to the web, has decided, in many cases, that quality work really isn't all that important. Just take a look at the headlines appearing on many web sites and that should tell you all you need to know about journalism's commitment to quality.

By the way, I don't think reduced quality is limited to journalism; service in stores, the ability to reach a company on the phone, the availability of workers when you need help--the standards are, in many cases, vanishing. Yes, I know, I sound like an old fart. But even old farts are sometimes right.

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