As a copy editor, I was heartened that Jeff Bezos’s memo to the staff of the Washington Post after he bought the venerable newspaper included this:
We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.
One way he can achieve his ideal is to ensure that the Post keeps its copy editors. I hope he will see the short-term value in having dedicated on-staff, on-site professionals who will keep harmful and embarrassing mistakes from being published and the long-term value of the deep credibility that comes from having a well-edited publication in all its platforms.
Copy editors are essential to that credibility. They are committed to truth, too, and their skeptical and pointed questions and thoughtful editing along the way will help the Post build itself back up.
I want Bezos’s Post to succeed, and I want it to succeed with copy editors as part of the team.