Subs still get stick

We subs still get stick from people who don’t appreciate the craft. Take this comment, from another website: ‘I just don’t understand why anyone would CHOOSE to do that for a living.

‘Are they like the kids who could only get picked for the school football team if they played in goal? Are they all frustrated writers who take out their rage with the world on poor sods like me by butchering our copy?”

Unfortunately, the author is anonymous so his house won’t be burning down tonight, but if you have to work with people like that, is it any surprise that subs occasionally turn nasty and fuck up someone’s copy just for fun?

We must turn to the great Harold Evans for a definitive appreciation of our job: ‘Journalists who choose editing as their craft will have less obvious excitement than the reporter: not for them the thrill of detection or the fast plane to Beirut. Their satisfaction lies in the skills of the crafty, in communicating. And there are some excitements which reporting cannot match.

‘There are nights of big news, the late-night flash in the Gulf War crisis, when text editors feel they are standing at the very centre of events. There is nothing to touch the fascination of seeing the news develop second by second and projecting a piece of history.”

So there we go. Think back, all you reporters out there, to the keynote front pages of recent times – the Gulf Wars, 7/11, the London terrorist attacks. How many of your words were on the front page? Err … none. You were writing colour on page 13. Enough said.

A final point: subs can generally drink writers under the table. End of story.

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