Dear Dr Deadline 18-04-03

Dear Dr Deadline,

I was a bit surprised to see your suggestion that age did not matter (Press Gazette, 4 April) – I always thought it had to do with unmistaken identity. To avoid getting sued by John Smith, you had to be sure of his age since there was little chance of them all being in the same street with the same birthday. Ah well, I suppose this shows just how old I am.

Iain McGregor, Edinburgh

Mr McGregor is of course quite correct. And certainly in reports of legal proceedings and crime there is a cast-iron case to be made for including an individual’s age for precisely the reasons he describes. The far-from-infallible Doctor was tentatively suggesting, though, that age did not need to be reported “as a matter of course”. He concedes the point, though, that including ages in some stories but not in others might appear somewhat patchy, style wise. Dr D wonders if any other readers have thoughts on the matter.

Dear Dr Deadline

Having started my career as a reporter, I would like to get some training as a sub-editor as I think it could be a very useful and portable skill to add to my repertoire. Most people I have talked to suggest I should learn how to use Quark Xpress software, but lately I’ve noticed an increasing number of mentions of Adobe InDesign in your magazine and others. Would I be better off training on InDesign? And if so, are there any such courses available?

As my esteemed and brilliant colleague Cross Head wrote in this very column last week, InDesign certainly does seem to be gaining a firm foothold among the software-buying decision makers after years of Quark domination. Yet even if trends continue at the same rate, it will be a long time before the newcomer completely overtakes its longer established rival. But the good news is that the basic principles of both packages are almost identical – indeed InDesign includes a feature which allows it to replicate the keystrokes that Quark uses for its commands. So once you’ve learned the basics of one it should – in principle at least – be relatively straightforward to pick up the other one. You’ll find companies providing both sets of courses in the Essential Services section on page 35.

Got any questions for Doctor Deadline? Or do you disagree with his advice? E-mail him on doctordeadline@pressgazette.co.uk

Dr Deadline returns in two weeks

Next week: Cross Head

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