The tale of two headlines…

30 11 2008

Staff at Bobballs are great admirers of the quiet, unglamorous work of the noble subeditor. So much of a newspaper’s personality and the critical relationship it holds with its readers is communicated through the subeditor.

And so it is in today’s Sunday Life. On this occasion the Sunday Life shows us the difference between the informing headline (undoubtedly written by a reporter) and the absorbing headline (undoubtedly written by a sub).

The story? Erm… whales die in mass stranding on a beach in Tasmania.

First up, the informing headline. Early wire copy pasted up on the Sunday Life website states the following:

Fair’nuff (yawn). But for chrissakes, this is Sunday – where’s the lurid detail?

But wait! Here comes the absorbing headline. When the bulked out substitute copy arrives, the noble subeditor really sets to work. The updated story thunders:

Battered to death on rocks!?! A stranding then a savage beating? Mother Nature takes dozens of whales down to Chinatown? Now that’s a story to pass the ‘Hey Beryl test’!!

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5 responses

30 11 2008
Shuffling Geisha

The noble sub editor? You mean the fiendish, vindictive, twisted people who change things, mess up your story and when it the finger of blame comes flick their head over to someone else, eh, eh, eh?

1 12 2008
Staff at Bobballs

Ah, Shuffling Geisha… but what about the good times?

What about that time when the sub got your copy (possibly some FoI based tripe about costs of bottled water in committee meetings), stared at the ceiling for a moment then, in a moment of genius, stuck a blinding headline on it and made you look like Carl Bernstein?

Who got the credit? Not the sub!

No, the noble sub is like ‘Camouflage’ in that Stan Ridgeway song. He just shows up and swats the bullets away, saves your ass then disappears back to the shadows.

Alrighty, Shuffling Geisha three cheers for subeditors – hip hip…!

2 12 2008
Staff at Bobballs

… HIP HIP…!??!

2 12 2008
Shuffling Geisha

Who’s Queen?

2 12 2008
Staff at Bobballs

Yes Majesty.

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