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by Brian Clarey

News and views from inside the media bubble 

Media General, parent company of the Winston-Salem Journal, in its quest do continually do more with less, has eliminated the copy desk at the Journal, according to the paper, “as part of its transition to a consolidated editing center” in Tampa, Fla. and Richmond, Va.

The copy desk at a city paper is one of the layers between a raw story and the reading public, where spelling and grammar are fine-tuned, facts checked, headlines and cutlines written, structure and style imposed. These functions were performed by a staff of one part-time and 17 full-time employees, whose positions have been eliminated.

With them goes a trove of institutional memory: properly spelled street names, local history and a sense of continuity. And it begs the question, “How can a newspaper function without a copy desk?” It is certainly the end of something. For a classy farewell video, find “Copy Desk Farewell,” put together by Journal staff, on YouTube.

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