Readers value editing

Poynter covers Wayne State University prof Fred Vultee’s ACES presentation of his recent study on the value editors add. Key takeaway:

“Routine editing makes a statistically significant and moderately strong difference in how audiences perceive the professionalism, writing quality, organization, and value of news articles.”

Makes complete sense to me. The problem in my experience is one Vultee saw in his study as well: “We know [editors] add value, but since they don’t add content it’s been hard to make a specific case of how they add value.”

When it’s hard to explain how you add value, it’s hard to argue against getting laid off. But clearly editors do add value, as the study notes, especially among women readers — it’s just that the value is added in ways other than dollars and cents, which is difficult to justify to the types who look only at the bottom line. But the feelings of trust and professionalism are ones that brands should cultivate, not get rid of. Never has the saying “the invisible hand of the editor” been more ironic.

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