As many of you know, my personal soapbox is that technical editing is a quality assurance process. I’m known for researching and writing an article that compared technical editing to software testing, arguing that since companies rarely distribute software that hasn’t been tested they shouldn’t publish documentation that hasn’t been edited. (My article, “Technical Editing as Quality Assurance: Adding Value to Content,” was published in 2002 in Technical Communication.) It seems that every so many years, this argument has to be made. In today’s social and digital publishing world, even more so.
I was thrilled to see this research study by Fred Vultee “Audience perceptions of editing quality: Assessing traditional news routines in the digital age” published in Digital Journalism and written about by Natalie Jomini Stroud in “Study shows the value of copy editing” published by the American Press Institute.
Even though the study was focused in the journalism or news industry, and it defined value as being willing to pay for the news article, it definitely still quantified and demonstrated how editors and the editing process adds value to the content. Readers notice poor writing, and they respond favorably to writing that has been edited.