My university just received approval to launch its first PhD program in almost 50 years. Neil Offen of the Durham (NC) Herald-Sun wrote a really nice article on this milestone, one of enough importance locally to garner the top of page one. However, the copy editor indicated in the header that the new PhD program was at the much larger system university 25 miles to the southeast, in a county not even listed above in the coverage area.
How could this happen when there are only two universities and one community college in the city of Durham, NC?
Back in August, the owner of our local newspaper decided to move copy editing over 600 miles away to the Owensboro (Kentucky) Messenger-Inquirer. When this came down, friend of the blog and former Herald-Sun reporter Ginny Skal gave a personal perspective on this increasingly common trend in the newspaper industry to cut costs.
I don’t blame the Herald-Sun staff at all. I assume that they sent out a perfectly accurate header with “NC Central University” and it was “corrected” by a Kentucky-based editor who had only ever heard of NC State.
A minor issue, you might say. But at my university I’m certain that many would like to proudly display the frontpage news of our major accomplishment, one that university researchers and administrators have been working toward for over ten years.
Well, at least Photoshop allows one to easily remove the errant header.
I guess that’s worth eliminating some local jobs.
Addendum (10 October, 7:30 am): Former newspaper man R.L. Bynum alerted me to two posts he wrote recently at his Running Tar Heel blog a few months ago on moving copy-desk and design responsibilities off-site.
From July, a review of the unfortunate metastasis of this phenomenon:
Off-site copy desks: A bad idea that keeps spreading
From September, some examples that are afflicting the Raleigh News & Observer: It really should be called the Charlotte N&O
Thanks for the tips, R.L.