Friday, 19 June 2009

Why I love subs

Since I began in this industry (before the internet and before mobile phones were affordable) newspaper companies have been trying to remove subs.
An extra layer of cost in a department that most executives already see as an unjustifiably expensive outlay. After all who cares if the news part of the newspaper is worth reading, right?
So far they have mostly failed.
Some idiotic fools have tried letting reporters write straight on to the page. Madness. Have you ever tried to sub your own work? I try to sub the dribble I write (honestly) and I still leave in major typos, badly constructed sentences and overwritten chod.
Plus, have you ever met a reporter who responds well to criticism. Every word most hacks write is worthy of an award in their eyes, so how are they supposed to be critical of it?
This is why I love subs. A good sub can humble the greatest news hack or editor. Many times has a sub comes up to me with copy I have supposedly, edited and passed on to a page, and asked a question so bleeding obvious I turn red.
I always blame it on the volume of copy I read. But in reality it's because I have read the intro, made sure it has an end and banged it on a page cos it's going in the back of the book and I can't be arsed.
I vow to myself to change my ways but this episode happens on a weekly basis.
A fresh pair of eyes on a story is a wonderful thing but when that fresh pair of eyes belongs to a pedantic, fussy, vindicative sub it is a godsend.

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