Over on Poynter, deputy editor of StarTribune.com Matt Thompson runs through a series of questions to ask when producing the headline for a story, from the seemingly obvious but still overlooked “is it accurate” and “does it work out of context”, to whether it would benefit from the inclusion of a number or an “implication”.
Plans for a new sub-editing hub for News Limited’s titles in Australia, part of News Corporation, have been announced. More than 100 sub-editors and designers will move to the centralised production operation.
The use of the Atex production system at JP has been blamed for similar problems which have occured at titles since integration of the new system, such as cropped, misaligned or even missing pictures and other headline gaffs.
Great first-person piece from the New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan on the process of fact-checking at newspapers past and present:
In short, fact-checking has assumed radically new forms in the past 15 years. Only fact-checkers from legacy media probably miss the quaint old procedures. But if the web has changed what qualifies as fact-checking, has it also changed what qualifies as a fact? I suspect that facts on the web are now more rhetorical devices than identifiable objects. But I can’t verify that.
Nieman Journalism Lab looks at the changing role and value of the copy editor and sub-editor as so-called “content factories” like Demand Media and Associated Content expand to meet demands for “newsy” rather than “news” content online:
(…) that newsy, but more evergreen content on everything from going green to health to potty training to TV buying is building a great annuity for the company; it’s long tail monetisable for a long time.
(…) This wide disparity in editing editorial content isn’t wildly surprising; the disparity has grown markedly over the last decade, and certainly the blogosphere making each one of us our own editors has taught us new, uneasy conventions. We’ve gained a lot in the free and easy flow on web-enabled writing and publishing. We’ve clearly lost something too, as finding (and paying for) an intelligent second set of eyes has become a luxury.
That’s left me wondering exactly what value is in good editing. Are there any Newsonomics of editing, value to be gained and harvested?
This morning I was leafing through an old guide to subbing from 1968. There were a couple of pages in it stressing the importance of ensuring articles do not clash with adjacent adverts. Weight loss advert next to an anorexia story, cigarette advert next to a lung cancer report, that kind of thing.
Well, it seems that, 40 years on, not everyone is paying attention to their text books. Or their website. Not satisfied with putting images of a plane emerging from a ball of fire adjacent to a story about today’s terrorist bomb attack in Moscow, the Sun’s website made use of some nifty graphics to have plane and fireball emerge from the story itself, leaving behind a charred hole.
Although my book has an additional chapter on new forms of ‘electronic sub-editing’, it doesn’t cover this kind of thing in any detail. I checked. It is however called ‘The Simple Subs Book’, so it may, after all this time, still be ideally suited to some.