Copyediting is something that’s done after the writers go home, said Merrill Perlman, retired director of copy desks at the New York Times and editing consultant and educator. Copyeditors are geeky and hard to manage. Few people understand what we do. When that happens, companies question our value and cut jobs. Said Perlman, ‘The copyeditor is dead.’

We must stop calling ourselves copyeditors, said Perlman. It’s a word (two if you follow ACES’s style) loaded with too many negative connotations. She suggested that we own a buzzword and become content editors. Copyeditors are expendable. Content editors are vital. It doesn’t matter if we’re coaching those creating the content or actually making the changes. It doesn’t matter if the work will appear in print or somewhere in the digital ether. No one knows what we know. ‘Our jobs are to educate,’ she said. ‘I am a communicator.’

Erin Brenner, ‘The copyeditor is dead. Long live the content editor.’ (via copyeditor)

Merrill was my instructor at the Columbia Journalism School. Any typos or grammatical errors that appear on this blog are in spite of her diligent efforts. 

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