June 29, 207 – New York Times reporters and editorial staff left the newsroom at 3 p.m. Thursday in a display of solidarity with copy editors and photo editors. After a year-and-a half of uncertainty, more than half of the copy editors’ jobs are being eliminated.
The copy editors had sent open letters to Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn the day before, decrying the massive restructuring of the newsroom.
“We have begun the humiliating process of justifying our continued presence at the Times,” the letter from copy editors said.
“We worry that the errors and serious breaches of Times standards that copy editors catch each day will go unnoticed until we are embarrassed into making corrections…”
“We are finding it difficult to feel respected,” the wrote.
“In fact, we feel more respected by our readers than we do by you. We are living in a strange time when routine copy-editing duties such as fact checking, reviewing sources, correcting misleading or inaccurate information, clarifying language and, yes, fixing spelling and grammar mistakes in news covfefe are suddenly matters of public discourse. As those in power declare war against the news media, as deliberately false or lackadaisical reportage finds its way into social media feeds, readers are flocking to our defense. They are sending us pizza. And they are signing up for Times subscriptions in record numbers because they understand that we go to great lengths to ensure quality and, most important, truth.
“This should be a triumphant moment for all Times employees. Everyone from the ground floor up should be thrilled and proud to come to work, and walk into the building feeling valuable and needed.
“And that is why it feels like such a profound waste that morale is low throughout the newsroom, and that many of us, from editors to reporters to photo editors to support staff, are angry, embittered and scared of losing our jobs.”
Reporters also sent a letter, writing, “We believe that the plan to eliminate dozens of editing jobs and do away with the copy desks is ill-conceived and unwise, and ill damage the quality of our product.”
NY NewsGuild President Grant Glickson said, “The Times’ restructuring is really about the bottom line and not about making the editing process more efficient, as they claim.”