When copy editors become reporters

Can copy editors be reporters? Or is the copy desk the fate of the feckless writer?

This interview with Steve Foster, managing editor of the fledgling In Denver Times, includes these thoughts on the matter:

The group we’re starting with didn’t come on board because of their specialties. They came on board because they all believed in creating something, and everyone’s willing to try something new to make that a reality. There’s a large group of people who are traditionally identified as copy editors. In this new world, they’re not just editing copy. They’re also reporting stories, and that is a key component for this.

In my newsroom days, I saw copy editors become reporters, and I saw that move go the other way too. It usually worked out OK.

This project will ask journalists to do both, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out in Denver and elsewhere.



  1. I just assumed all copy editors had to step into the role of reporter if they saw spot news.

    Seems like a job that’s part reporter and part editor might cut down on burnout by not doing the exact same thing every day.

  2. I agree with Luke. I think this is a good idea because it allows for variety on the job. I enjoy both writing and editing. I think it will be important for these writer/editor folks to remember to let someone else edit their writing — even professional copy editors need an editor when they write.

  3. I started as a reporter, moved to the copy/design desk and now am dipping my toes back into reporting. It’s partly out of desire to write and partly out of need, as our staff is pretty small. And with an open position going unfilled, they need all the help they can get, both in coverage and editing. I wish I had time to learn audio/video editing, because I really do believe we need to diversify our skills. It’s not just a trend, it’s the way it’s going to be.

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