Copy editors: Good job, not good future

Author: Susan Keith

Publication: Copy editor job satisfaction lowest at small newspapers, Newspaper Research Journal, volume 26, nos. 2 and 4 (spring/summer, 2005), pp. 6-26.

More than 70% of copy desk workers are satisfied with their jobs to some degree, according to a survey sent to 801 editors at 105 daily newspapers in 2002.

Seventy-four percent are satisfied with their supervisors, and nearly 71% reported in 2002 that they planned to stay in their current job for at least the next two years. Copy editors are less likely to be satisfied with their salaries (64.2%), days and hours (63.8%) and prospect of being copy editors in five years (59.5%).

Only 40% of copy editors, however, are satisfied with their prospects for advancement, a figure that drops to less than 10% at newspapers with average weekday circulations between 25,001 and 50,000.

Copy desk workers who did something other than just edit stories and write headlines (page design, slot work, supervision, etc.) were somewhat more likely than “pure” copy editors to say they would be happy to be doing the same kind of work in five years, and copy editors who were satisfied with their supervisors were more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

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