Where are the Copyeditors?

It happened again this morning. I checked news headlines on my iPhone and noticed CNN:

“In 17 sates, the number of COVID-19 cases keeps rising.”

This is one way I can tell the pandemic is taking its toll on news organizations. Typos used to be amusing anomalies. Now, not a day goes by when I don’t notice them.

From SpaceEx “Building Momemtum” to “Republicans Tries to Foil Dem Governors” – both in the Idaho Press in the past week – to local TV stations reporting that unemployment claims are “soring” and people are “testing postive” for COVID-19, journalists’ collective credibility is being chipped away by mistakes.

Beyond checking for typos and grammar gaffes, in an era when we need watchdogs more than ever, there are fewer of them. The prestigious Poynter Institute is tracking newsroom “layoffs, furloughs and closures” related to the coronavirus, and here’s the link to the most recent list.

It’s as frightening as in any other industry, and those who are left to keep the wheels grinding are most likely overworked and underpaid. Hard to keep up the “momemtum” that way.

I’ll be donating this week to the COVID-19 Local News Fund at the Local Media Association. It has raised more than $1 million through its Local Media Foundation to support COVID-19 reporting across the country, but I’m sure much more is needed.