I wrote down this quote on copyeditors a few years ago and stumbled across it today. Like a good journalist, I didn’t cite the source, but it’s still worth it.
“Copyeditors were once an important part of the journalism process, back when journalists weren’t as educated as they are now. Back then, your typical reporter was named ‘Scoop’ and he was a semi-literate cigar-smoking, fannie-pinching drunk with bad teeth in a wrinkled suit and a card that said PRESS stuck in the hat-band of his fedora, and they’d generate their stories by bribing sources, pistol-whipping people into talking, eavesdropping from inside closets, etc. A reporter was hired for cheek and muscle, not their writing skill, so you needed an extra layer of editing. But nowadays, things have changed. “Scoop” is gone. Young reporters are all named “P. Laurence Butterfield Jr.” and they arrive at their first newspaper jobs fresh-faced and competent, straight from New Haven, Conn., with their high-faluting Princeton educations. They don’t need copyeditors.”