Gene Weingarten has a satirical column in today’s Washington Post bidding a long-due goodbye to copy editors. (“Because the job requires patience, maturity, intelligence, attention to detail, and an extremely sedentary workday, fat old Jewish ladies have often made good copyeditors.”) It’s pretty funny, and I especially enjoyed his colorful description of reporters from the “His Girl Friday” era (complete film after the jump):
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.