The cycle of doom

The Baltimore Sun

Blogging at The Spectator in tribute to the publication's chief sub editor (copy editor, for the American audience), Peter Robins, Fraser Nelson describes what happens when short-sighted managers cut back on the editing:

I’ve worked for newspapers that have unwisely cut back on sub-editing. It seems to work, at first, because there is no immediate cliff-edge drop in quality. But the rot accumulates. Errors creep in that would have been unthinkable a few years earlier. Sloppy writing goes unchecked, flabby ideas go unchallenged. And even then, the newspapers don’t suffer immediate penalty – readers who have been with the same title for years put up with a lot, before giving up on it. But when they do, the reputation for quality is hard to win back. The management respond to falling revenues with even more cuts, which send even more readers into despair. This is what I call the cycle of doom.

In short, Mr. Fraser argues, "money follows quality," and quality in journalism does not spring up spontaneously like mushrooms after a spring shower. It is laboriously cultivated. 

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