Re-assessing the role of the sub

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Tired eyes today

The last few days working for BBC Sport Interactive have given me a new per­spec­tive on, and respect for, the role of sub-editor. For ten years ‘subs’ have been the unseen hands who’ve been there, as far as I was concerned, solely to keep me out of trouble, for example by cor­rect­ing a misspelt name. Those who took it upon them­selves to change copy, almost always — again, as far as I was concerned — did so wholly without jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.
Well, today I ‘subbed’ something like 15 stories written by BBC jour­nal­ists, largely from local radio stations but some dedicated on-line jour­nal­ists. Some were fine, most needed tinkering with, and several needed com­pletely rewriting to make any sense at all. That’s before you start making sure the headlines, pictures, and all the other ‘furniture’ that should make up a BBC web page are in place. These days, of course, that includes embedding audio and video.
By the end of the day I was knackered, not to mention boss-eyed.
I would like to think, of course, that I don’t put the poor indi­vid­u­als who sub my copy through that sort of mill. Of the news­pa­pers I work for, the Sunday Times is probably the best in terms of leaving copy alone. The Indy is pretty good too, although that’s possibly because they’re so over-worked they don’t have time to change anything. The Guardian is probably the worst for unnec­es­sary fiddling.
Anyway, I’ll try and remember to print off a few examples over the next few days of the worst sort of copy that arrives on the screens at the BBC’s Birmingham ‘HUB’, as it is known.

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Written by RichardRae

March 17th, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Sport

Tagged with , , ,

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