Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote in copy_editors,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice
copy_editors

  • Mood:

How Many Copy Editors Are Still Employed These Days?

Virtually all of the copy editors I used to work with were laid off during the period from August 2008 to March 2009. I was laid off along with them, in January 2009. None of us has found long-term work yet. I'm extremely frustrated, obviously, with the severe underappreciation of copy editors in the current economy. So I'm taking out my frustration by conducting a poll.

Poll #1476751 Are You Employed?

Are you currently employed?

Yes, as a copy editor.
15(50.0%)
Yes, but not as a copy editor anymore.
6(20.0%)
Yes, but not as a copy editor. I've never been employed as a copy editor.
2(6.7%)
No. I used to be a copy editor, but I got laid off from that position and I haven't found a new one.
2(6.7%)
No. I used to be a copy editor, but I left for reasons other than being laid off.
4(13.3%)
No, and I've never been employed as a copy editor.
1(3.3%)

In your current or most recent position as a copy editor, what types of materials have you copy edited?

Newspapers
10(33.3%)
Magazines
1(3.3%)
Other periodicals
1(3.3%)
Advertisements
1(3.3%)
Books
1(3.3%)
Online materials
1(3.3%)
Other
4(13.3%)
Not applicable. I've never been a copy editor.
2(6.7%)
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 17 comments
I work for a feature service. We've let 3 editors and a proofreader go in the last couple of years and the place is on its uppers, Just today, the boss said she's running out of money and may have to fire more people. She wants me to take a pay cut.
I left my newspaper in November 2008, a week before I would have been laid off. I was lucky enough to hear the rumors before the axe came down. I was able to grab a temp job for a few months, and I am currently working as a substitute teacher while studying for my teaching certification.
I'd worked as a newspaper copy editor for the first three years of my professional career, though I never has a straight copy editor title (I usually did copy editing and pagination, though I did wear a reporter's hat for my first job). I'm now more of a proofreader, as well as a typesetter, for a database publishing firm.
To clarify my answer, I am a part-time copy editor. I am officially listed as "Contributing Editor" in the staff section of the magazine for which I'm employed. This is a local publication regarding health matters and is directed to the doctors, staff and patients of various hospitals, offices, clinics, etc. in my local metro area. However, anyone may benefit from the articles.

This publication comes out quarterly, so every four months I end up with an inbox full of articles to edit, usually within a 24-hour time frame.

Full time, I'm employed at a dental office. I received my degree in Communications/Journalism with a minor in English, so I'm glad I'm using my degree, even in just part-time work. Naturally, it goes without saying that my full-time dental office job pays FAR more than my part-time copy-editing job.
Just one more thing...

Said publication did solicit me to write articles, apparently at a time when the staff was having a hard time finding good freelancers. I do consider myself a freelance writer, although I haven't had a published article in years.

Apparently, my fee for writing was too steep, as I never heard back from them. But they still use (and NEED) my copy-editing skills - heavily!
I ended up going into research and drafting, but that caved in, too.
I was a reporter, and then city editor, for a small community newspaper. I always edited copy, but I did lots of other things too and wasn't ever specifically titled as a "copy editor."
I was full-time at 2 different copy editing jobs over 4 years. And then I was fired. (While I was at the second paper, an entire copy desk's worth of people came and went.)

While it was a crappy way to leave, I was ultimately glad I did. The layoffs got a lot worse after I left. I'm now a copywriter with some proofreading, and using a lot of those skills. Plus learning some new ones.
Oh, and. Out of my former copy desk co-workers who are no longer on that desk, one is now a news editor at a weekly, one is an editor at a nursing magazine, one's in graphic design, one moved up to editor of the smaller daily (third one in two years), one's in advertising...

but I am technically a freelancer, just full-time. But no benefits at all.
I work as a copy editor in my hometown for a newspaper that's been a family-owned publication for 115 years now. We've also had several layoffs recently. Last week, our last photographer was let go, so the reporters now have to take their own photos. We have only three regular editors - two for news, including me, and one who does the sports section. As we also put together all the pages, they probably couldn't get by without fewer than three of us. We still worry they'll find a way to lay us off, though.
Do you consider freelance to be "employed"? I assumed that you did.

I've been freelancing as a copy editor for the past couple of years, and my workload from my biggest client seems to have grown slightly, plus I've added a few clients. I don't have a full-time workload, but I'd like one.
Ah, underemployment. Yes, it certainly counts. I think I may be forced to freelance too, when my unemployment benefits run out. Good luck increasing your workload.
I work in educational publishing, copyediting classroom magazines. Inaccuracy of any kind really, really offends the audience (teachers), so copy editors have been safe even during all the layoffs of the past year or two.

The future of copyediting looks so bleak, though. Scary.
Heh. I was working in educational publishing too - editing standardized tests, where a mistake can destroy the value of the test question. At least 90% of the copy editors where I worked got laid off. Part of the reason was that the company significantly decreased the volume of products it produced, but part of it was that it just made its few remaining copy editors work 80-hour weeks (for no extra pay - I was doing this myself until they laid me off too) to make up for the loss of staff.

Don't bet on being safe.
Left print (weekly newsmagazine) in 2008, after 25 years, for the digital world. I'm chief copy ed for a major broadcast news Web site.
I'm a copy editor/page designer/reporter at a small privately-owned daily. Since I started working there a year and a half ago, we down-sized the sports desk to just two reporters (I was moved over there to do all the desk work so they could write) and we cut pensions. We also lost a reporter to another job but we did hire a new one.

I love copy editing but I will probably move more into graphic design as the industry continues its slow, unfortunate death.
I've worked as a copy editor for a student newspaper; I don't think it fully counts, though. :-/