Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song)

Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song)

Update: See the video here

I’ve never been a copy editor. But I’ve worked with many over the years in my newspaper career, and they strike me as having the most under-appreciated job in the newsroom. And sometimes, with the emphasis in gotta-post-right-now online journalism, I think we’re all forgetting how important their jobs really are.

With all the layoffs, buyouts, furloughs and other horrible things going on in the industry, I decided to write a song from the viewpoint of a copy editor losing his job. The lyrics are fictional, but the sentiments, I’m afraid, are all too common these days.

NOTE: For the lyrics and some news about the song, go here.

I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to let me know what you think. Oh, and if anyone wants to know how I recorded it – what hardware and software I used, etc. – just post and I’ll let you know.

NOTE No. 2: THE LINK AT THE TOP GOES TO THE SAMPLES PAGE of my website, where the song lives now.Thanks!

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34 Responses to “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song)”

  1. Jennie Crabbe Says:

    Chris, you are my hero! Rockin’!!!

  2. Amy Verkamp-McArthy Says:

    This is the best song I’ve ever heard!!

  3. Bob Snyder Says:

    Great but I have no more adjectives left to describe my appreciation…

  4. kgreenbaum Says:

    Is it possible that this is the only song ever recorded about copy editors? 🙂

  5. @pdxsasy Says:

    A copy editor is more apt to kill an adverb than an adjective, wouldn’t you say?….Oh,… wait… you’re not a copy editor. And you don’t have one around to ask any more.

  6. Kim Champion Says:

    This is a great song. And it rings so true. Copy editors’ positions were being nixed before all the others of late. I’m going to dedicate this to my favourite copy editor of all time … Kinger.

  7. ester venouziou Says:

    thanks for thinking of the copy desk!

  8. Kathy Morrison Says:

    Wonderful! As a member of the American Society of Copy Editors, I salute you.

  9. CommonSenseJ: Words for ‘Copy Editor’s Lament’ | Editors' Blog Says:

    […] Ave’s original post can be found here, or have a look at the lyrics here at the Common Sense Journalism blog for  […]

  10. fade theory » latest and greatest Says:

    […] out the Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song). There really is a song for every occasion. (via […]

  11. Darryl D. Smith Says:

    Great, great song! I am a copy editor, reporter, photographer, etc. So I relate to everyone when it comes to this business. But the copy editing position is the LEAST appreciated and possibly the most overworked!

  12. Neil Genzlinger Says:

    In response to Mr. Greenbaum’s question, I can personally attest that this is NOT the first song ever written about copy editors. See my own “Copy Desk Boys,” recorded by Pinheads Who Vote, an all-copy-editor band at the Hartford Courant, circa. 1989. The lyrics, alas, are too scandalous for this esteemed forum. Suffice it to say that the song’s theme was the superiority of male copy editors to other newsroom Romeos.

  13. In search of verisimilitude… « Scenarios and Strategy Says:

    […] (and poignant) musical take on the mainstream media’s objectivity and accuracy issue, click here, then again on the link at the top of the post… Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  14. Jo Mannies Says:

    Fabulously done!!

    Or, as a copy editor would prefer: Fabulous!

    No extraneous words:)

  15. matt dietrich Says:

    Chris: I am already hard at work on the B-side: “The Ballad of Frank Brooks.”

  16. Jannet Walsh Says:

    Great job! I posted it to my blog!

    My story here –

  17. oldschoolnewmedia Says:

    This song made and ruined my day.
    I posted it on my blog for my students. It’s way better than anything I can tell them about the state of the industry.

  18. oldschoolnewmedia Says:

    I meant “could” not “can.” I should have written: It’s way better than anything I “COULD” ever tell them about the state of the industry. Right? Is it can or could?
    Wait…they fired all the copy editors….

  19. Christopher Ave Says:

    THANK YOU everyone for your comments. I’ll be writing a new post soon sharing some of the reactions I’m hearing and seeing. Thanks especially for those of you who have blogged, Twittered and otherwise shared the song. I do appreciate it!

  20. Kevin Shay Says:

    Great song, Chris! Just saw the article in Poyntor. I’ll forward it to some copy editors I know. Glad to hear you are continuing both music and journalism – I remember when you played at our old AMN parties in the roaring ’90s…..I’m still in journalism myself working as a reporter covering Maryland business and politics for a chain of newspapers owned by the Wash Post…..So I landed fine, or better, after Belo.

  21. Another Damned Blog » “I know ‘impact’ is not a verb” | Says:

    […] just emailed me this link, which sends you to this page, where you can listen to a song called “Copy Editor’s […]

  22. msvianca Says:

    this song strike through the core of my own layoff lament. you rock Christopher Ave.

  23. John Guglielmi Says:

    Got out before they cut more positions at my paper. I have worked 40 years as a photojournalist and retired last year as the meltdown got underway. A good copy editor is hard to fine and I assume will be an endangered species in our wonderful world of electronic communications. Good job Christopher.

  24. Ingrid Michaelson’s hilarious musical take on Twitter « MusicForMedia Says:

    […] Michaelson’s hilarious musical take on Twitter By Christopher Ave After having fun with the news biz blues, I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a song about Facebook. Turns out […]

  25. Lew Schucart Says:

    Chris… when are we going to see your music on VH-1? I’d say MTV, but they don’t do music videos anymore.


  26. Jeffrey Williams Says:

    Neil Genzlinger’s ”Copy Desk Boys” was indeed a big hit in Hartford. I know ’cause I was there, along with Flash and Meg. Way to go Neil!

  27. Kroger Says:

    Thank you *very* much for sharing your insight. I’ll bookmark this.

  28. Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song) VIDEO! « MusicForMedia: Creating music for a multimedia world Says:

    […] As you might or might not recall, I wrote and recorded the song to celebrate copy editors but also as a commentary on the travails of the news industry – newspapers in particular. The video was shot by Elie Gardner, photojournalist extraordinaire; several of my friends — most of them journalists — volunteered as cast members. Michele Munz, a talented writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, did the choreography and played the role of “boss.” […]

  29. A year in the life « MusicForMedia: Creating music for a multimedia world Says:

    […] popular was my initial post about my song, “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song).” The power-pop ditty […]

  30. Saltness Says:

    Thank you so much for your nice suggestion.I will give it a try.

  31. Bloggasm » The copy editor layoff song Says:

    […] just may have to write a PBS article on this guy. He’s the Jonathan Coulton of the newspaper editor. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "The copy […]

  32. Thedford Says:

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  33. Carmouche Says:

    I would have to disagree with you .. but i like your opinion!

  34. Angela Miner Says:

    Interestingly, this blog, you could update it more often ..:)

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