Tuesday, 2 November 2010

'Never have sub-editors been more needed and never have they been more undervalued'

A sub-editor posting on the HoldtheFrontPage story about Northcliffe planning to cut copy-subs argues they are needed more than ever in a world of "practically illiterate young reporters" and managers with no feeling for the written word.

Hard-working sub
was responding to a post by El Nino claiming subs "bitched about how great things were when 30 subs proof-read one story a day each and made a cup of tea every 22 minutes."

Hard-working sub:
"Dear Mr Nino - I've been a sub for 25 years and do not recognise the office you describe. Maybe I've been unlucky (or lucky, depending on how you look at it) but I have always worked hard with a maximum of three cups of coffee a day to sustain me. If you haven't been in subbing for a few years you probably have no idea how it is these days. Our hours are getting longer and longer as cuts are made across the board. Our pay has been frozen and all the while the threat of redundancy hangs over our heads. But that's the real world. What is really depressing is the quality of copy we receive from the young reporters who are practically illiterate. Never have subs been more needed and never have they been more undervalued. I think the problem is that the managers making these decisions have no feeling for the written word and can see nothing wrong with badly written stories. I was depressed before, now I've made myself even more depressed."


Loving Dalston said...

Sure newspapers & mags can survive on long-distance subbing via Yorkshire & Oz: few English-speakers can deal with spelling, anyway, let alone punctuation. But after a while the fall in standards of articulacy will lead to confusion and alienate readers. And I haven't even mentioned the dangers of inaccuracy and libel that come from sacking subs. Quality of expression is one of factor that has always distinguished national papers from (most) local papers. If not well-edited news, features and listings, what else can the local press offer readers who find web sources inadequate?

Loving Dalston said...

OK, so you spotted the mistakes in the previous comment. Two were deliberate. At least, that's my story.