headline headghgh...the tee shirt

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The Twitterer who posted a picture of the dreadful production mishap at the Bedford Times and Citizen which saw dummy copy appear on a front page that was posted through more than 50,000 letter-boxes has created a tee shirt commemorating the blunder.

Here “Citizen” blogs about how the Twitter pic was viewed thousands of times around the world, even appearing on the US news site the Huffington Post. It’s also been mentioned on Gawker.

The serious point which Citizen, and others, miss is that perhaps this front page is the alarm bell which should signal that it is time for Times and Citizen owner Johnston Press to stop cutting costs which sacrifice editorial quality. The claim from the NUJ is that staffing levels on many Johnston Press titles are dangerously low and that the Atex content management system has been brought in without enough training.

UPDATE: Citizen tells me that he does address this point in his blog post, so sorry about that. Here’s what he says:

The whole thing was exhilarating, there were times when I felt bad for the newspaper I must be honest, but an interesting and more serious story started to emerge from all of the frivolity. Apparently the Johnston Press Group that owns the paper has recently made a large number of sub-editors redundant and replaced them with a new system called Atex. This allows journalists to place their own headlines straight onto the paper, and apparently it’s been causing problems all over the place. You can read more about that here. My story was starting to be used as leverage in a campaign against JP bosses, and was beginning to be heard by the right people. So, gratefully I decided something positive was starting to come out of it.

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