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26 April 2017 @ 10:27 am
Explaining things  
Interview with Jill Lepore, one of our best popular historians. Here’s a particularly good part:

One of the really staggering things to me about the great “newspaper death watch” of 2009 was the jeering jubilance of disruptors, their astounding confidence in the genius and efficiency of a new system of communication that, at the end of the day, did one thing above all: it killed the editor. Here’s a way to think about that: what percentage of everything “published” in, say, 1952—that is, every radio and television broadcast, every magazine, newspaper, newsletter, book—was edited, in the sense that it passed through the hands of at least one person whose entire job was to consider the judiciousness and reasonableness of the argument and the quality of the evidence? Let’s say—wild guess—more than 98 percent. And how much of everything “published” in 2017—every post, comment, clip—is edited? Who knows, but let’s say, less than 2 percent
Thanx to Arts & Letters Daily
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Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on April 26th, 2017 06:18 pm (UTC)
Is that really true about 1952? A lot of people, and not just SF fans, had mimeographs back then and were pouring out whatever they wanted. And really strange small-press stuff. Those were the days of the John Birch Society and even stranger organizations, all of which published stuff which was not edited in the sense of "judiciousness and reasonableness," that's for sure.

The difference from the internet age is not the quality of the material, but the ease of widespread distribution. Also the disappearance of much of what used to serve as cues based on the physical quality of the publication that might serve as approximate proxies for the intellectual quality of the contents. (Not a certain correlation, but a hint.)
El Coyote Gordo: cheshiresupergee on April 27th, 2017 12:03 am (UTC)
The numbers are off, but in terms of what is read, rather than what is published, she was probably closer.
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2017 10:59 pm (UTC)
It may have started as early as 1952, but it got worse through the 70's and 80's, when it was possible to notice a pervasive failure to edit not just for "judiciousness and reasonableness", but for checking the references, and the facts, and finally to the present when even spelling is not checked by people addressing a large proportion of the public.

I spend a lot of my reading time saying "mygawd, listen to this! Is there no *editing* any more?"
msrat1900 on April 26th, 2017 11:15 pm (UTC)
Message system is screwed up?
El Coyote Gordo: alchemysupergee on April 27th, 2017 12:04 am (UTC)
Possibly. Is the previous comment you?