You'll need deep pockets if you sack the subs Monty

David Montgomery’s fast growing investment vehicle Mecom evidently has pots of cash judging by the speed it is buying up newspapers across Europe.

That money will come in handy for lawyers’ fees if the former Mirror chief executive carries on with his plans to do away with sub editors.

Somewhat carried away by his speech last night, I put my report of it straight up online without letting a colleague pass a second pair of eyes over it – as is the norm.

The result was a stray apostrophe in the headline and a misspelling of the name Weidenfeld (thanks Tony Berry and Michael Wren for pointing those out).

Press Gazette had a more serious dose of the consequences of such shoddy practice a few weeks ago when the word “payout” was used in the headline of a report of a fairly innocuous libel settlement.

An irate phone call from a libel lawyer ensued and it turned out the matter of money in the libel deal was confidential and he considered that to suggest otherwise was actionable.

It was an easy mistake to make and came about because the sort of experienced and trustworthy journalist Montgomery thinks does not need sub-editing put their work up straight away online without recourse to a sub-editor.

The speed with which stories need to be published online nowadays – and the plethora of extra libel risks that online publication entails – mean there is more need for sub editors now than ever before.

If established newspapers are to make the transformation to become successful online businesses the quality that good sub-editing ensures will be essential to help them rise above the unregulated clamour of the blogosphere.



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