Times, November 27, 2020

Times, November 27, 2020

What an embarrassment, as usual attributed to an ‘editing error’. Unless newspaper production has changed out of recognition in the six or seven years since I was employed, the heading would have been written by a sub-editor, revised (therefore accepted) by a senior sub, approved by a sub who supervises the production of the page, the editor of the gardening section, and the editor of the Weekend section, any of whom could have introduced the error and must surely bear responsibility for the result (cue frantic buck-passing). That means that up to five national newspaper journalists, supposedly the creme de la creme, were unaware of this schoolboy error. I am guessing that the average age of these employees is about 23 but I bet they all have first-class degrees from Oxbridge.



i newspaper, November 19, 2020

(51 words) Here’s a guessing game. You are the sub handling this story and you need a headline. Given that the purpose of a headline is to attract readers to the story, what would be the most attention-grabbing line you could think of? The chilli sauce? The age of the victim?

This is what the sub came up with:

I laughed aloud when I saw it. There is even room on the top line for chilli.

That’s just the start. Court reports should state the name of the court, the charge and the plea. It is usual to give an indication of where the defendant is from.

This is how I would have done it:

Robber jailed for chilli
attack on woman, 90

A serial robber who broke into a 90-year-old Birmingham woman’s house and sprayed her face with hot chilli sauce has been jailed for nine years at the city’s Crown Court. Mohammed Nawaz, 52, of no fixed address, admitted attempted robbery and administering a noxious substance. He has 36 previous convictions. (50 words)


Times, November 7, 2020

Another example of ignorance of the natural world which is endemic among young subs (they seem to think it is a demerit to know anything): a rodent is a class of mammal which encompasses the capybara at 4ft 6in long and the pygmy jerboa at less than 2in long. This is as stupid as saying ‘a fish-sized’ or ‘a reptile-sized’ animal.