National journalism watchdog mocks Star Tribune's spellchecker initiative

The Star Tribune's decision to lay-off copyeditors--accompanied by a mandate for reporters to start using spellchecker--is attracting the derision of the Columbia Journalism Review, a national media watchdog.

Craig Silverman writes:

Asking reporters to use a spellchecker is not a path to accuracy. Spellcheckers can just as easily introduce as many errors as they correct. (Two words: "beef panties.") The mandate for reporters to read over work after it has been edited is useful and, frankly, should already have been in place. But the larger issue is that these proposed quality control measures are unlikely to do much to enhance the level of accuracy. It would be a stretch to call them Band-Aid solutions.

If the Star Tribune--and the many other news organizations that find themselves in a similar position--wants to maintain or improve quality while at the same time employing fewer people focused on quality, it will need to come up with new training programs and new procedures.

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