Effects of pagination, 10 years after

Author: John Russial

Publication: Pagination and the Copyeditor: Have Things Changed? paper presented to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication 2000 convention, available in the AEJMC archive.

Copy editors and their supervisors thought that the workload increased somewhat after the introduction of pagination and did not believe that the increase went away with experience, John Russial reported after surveying 174 editors at 88 newspapers with circulations above 15,000. About 40% of the editors said their papers added staff (from one to 40 FTE) when they started using pagination, but most said their papers did not.

In an earlier study, Russial found that pagination eats an average of 15 more minutes per page out of copy editorsí and designersí shifts than dummying on paper. In 1988, he visited 12 newspapers, with circulations from less than 20,000 to more than 500,000, that used proprietary pagination systems and timed paginators as they worked on pages. He concluded that pagination, sometimes touted as a newsroom timesaver, actually cut into the time available for editing stories. His research has found some support for the long-held belief that pagination has an adverse impact on traditional journalistic tasks and may lead to an increase in errors, a concern that has been linked to a newspaper credibility crisis.

The 1988 study: Pagination and the Newsroom: A Question of Time, Newspaper Research Journal, volume 15, no. 1 (winter 1994), pp. 91-101.

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