After receiving a blistering critique Wednesday afternoon from their editing corps, the two top editors at The New York Times issued a response defending their decision to eliminate layers of editing at the newspaper.

The letter, which is addressed to New York Times employee and New York NewsGuild President Grant Glickson, spells out a commitment to copy editing, despite upcoming cuts to the company’s editing ranks.

“We are in fact eliminating a free standing copy desk,” reads the letter from Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn. “We are not, as we have said repeatedly, eliminating copy editing. A majority of people currently employed by the copy desk will find new editing jobs. All of our desks will continue to ensure a high level of editing, spanning backfielding, copy editing, photo editing and digital and print production, for all the journalism we produce.”

Here’s the full letter:

Dear Grant,

Your letter reflects the passion for The Times and the journalism we produce that has distinguished us for decades. Many people who care deeply about the newsroom and its editing traditions have made their concerns clear in the course of this restructuring, and we take those concerns seriously.

We are in fact eliminating a free standing copy desk. We are not, as we have said repeatedly, eliminating copy editing. A majority of people currently employed by the copy desk will find new editing jobs. All of our desks will continue to ensure a high level of editing, spanning backfielding, copy editing, photo editing and digital and print production, for all the journalism we produce.

The Times has far more editors relative to reporters or to the number of stories we publish than any of our traditional print peers or our newer digital rivals. After this restructuring, we will continue to invest far more in editing than any of our competitors do. That is because we value meticulous editing.

At the same time, we feel a compelling need to reduce separate layers of editing, to have reporters and front-line editors play a bigger role in all aspects of story production and promotion, to create a more natively visual news report, and to speed up production. We have also made clear that in a environment of limited resources, we intend to invest more in recruiting top talent to keep us ahead on the biggest stories of our time and the best ways to tell those stories to a growing readership.

There will be reductions among editors and some other departures from around the newsroom in coming weeks and months. That is a difficult process for us all. We do intend to monitor this transition closely and ensure that we not only maintain but in many areas improve the editing that is critical to The Times’ reputation for excellence.

Dean and Joe