… The future for sub-editing is bleak,’ said Justin Williams, assistant editor of the Telegraph, at the NMK ‘What happens to newspapers?’ event. [Full story here.]
The reason? Because The Telegraph is trialling a post-moderated sub-editing system online in which reporters publish directly to the online edition and await moderation.
Whether moderation is by users via comments or subs direct into the story isn’t clear (to me anyway). But what is noted is that ‘[The future] will not be about the interminable multi-staged editing process’.
Williams notes instead a trend towards content generation (a theme visited in earlier posts as subs are shifted into multi-tasking).
But while newspapers have a brand and quality to protect, they are likely to suffer an amateurisation in the quality of their content through the publish-then-filter model. While this may be acceptable in a fast-paced news environment, which can be corrected over time in a rolling news story, the model could be dangerous for certain topics areas (eg, medical stories), but also for client magazines and websites with a brand to protect.
I don’t agree that the production process has to be ‘interminable’ but a second pair of eyes at least should be in place. Once it’s out there, wrong information goes to RSS almost immediately and an edit even a minute later won’t appear. As a writer I’d be very wary of sending in work without at least some kind of checks in place.
As for client-branded media, they may risk their good name and trusted reputation if they follow The Telegraph‘s lead.