There’s an interesting discussion this week on the Copyeditor blog about how we should respond to the devaluation of copyediting as a profession.
Erin Brenner, fresh from the American Copy Editors Society’s (ACES) annual conference, reported on a recommendation by Merrill Perlman. Perlman, retired director of copy desks at the New York Times, suggests that we coin a buzzword for what we do and start calling ourselves “content editors” instead of “copyeditors.” Perlman seems to believe that this new title would better represent our critical role in creating — not just cleaning up — content.
Here’s what Erin notes:
Copyediting is something that’s done after the writers go home, said Merrill Perlman … Copyeditors are geeky and hard to manage. Few people understand what we do. When that happens, companies question our value and cut jobs. Said Perlman, “The copyeditor is dead.”
We must stop calling ourselves copyeditors, said Perlman. It’s a word … loaded with too many negative connotations. She suggested that we own a buzzword and become content editors. Copyeditors are expendable. Content editors are vital.
Although I agree with Perlman that the role of copyeditors is undervalued and widely misunderstood, I disagree that the answer is to change our name.
You can check out my response (and other interesting responses to this topic) in the comments section of the Copyeditor blog.