Are you a talented journalist with a head for figures? Are you good at breaking business and economics stories while at the same time putting them in plain English? If so, we have a job for you.
My last post was in February – bloody hell, where has the time gone? It was about that time that I began my own personal reboot, with a return to the Irish Examiner, this time as Chief Sub-Editor (I have my own business cards and everything, so it must be official). All is going well enough so far, although it means this blog will be steering clear of most media stuff to avoid any clashes of interest.
In the spirit of rebooting, here’s the Downfall take on DC Comics’ decision to restart every one of its titles.
Copy editors (AKA sub-editors) will sift through stories to ensure clarity, will check spellings to the best of their ability, and do their best to make headlines enticing. That’s our brief, although we do sometimes fall short. Even so, it’s good that some people recognise the important role that copy editors play in journalism, whether it be online or in print. Very few readers actually know what we do.
Copy editors are the unsung heroes of newsrooms. Unknown to the public, and often underappreciated by their colleagues, they’re the last line of defense against a correction or, worse, a libel suit.
They’re skeptics who revel in the arcane. They know the difference between median and mean, and can speak knowledgeably about topics from Methuselah to the Milky Way. They write headlines, design some pages, check facts and make sure assertions are supported. They spend entire careers working horrible night-shift hours.
This might sound like self-congratulatory waffle, but subs are losing jobs as quickly as reporters as newspapers seek to cut costs on production while maintaining a certain level of content. It’s also true that I’m an unemployed copy editor (although can you really be an “unemployed [insert job]”?) but that was by choice, even if I do miss the work, unsociable hours and all.
Meanwhile, my thesis is clipping along nicely and I have surpassed the 20,000 words needed for submission. Of course, now comes the editing and rewriting; the subbing, if you will.
Former colleague (albeit in a different department) Jen Gerson takes a wry look at the options for print journalists facing the end of their industry.
My former colleagues at the Irish Examiner and Evening Echo have been asked to accept a pay freeze. Work restructuring is in the offing, although the union has yet to respond in full.
There’s a good reason I haven’t blogged for what looks like a solid six weeks: I’m up the walls. Unemployed or not — for I departed the ranks of the jobbers on Dec 31 — I have had too much on my plate. Even my Blogline feeds are stacking up, save for one or two.
So it’s a recession, and we’re all heading to hell in a handcart (or insert your phrase of choice here). Is the feeling of gnawing panic down to the internet?
This is our first experience of recession in the internet age, and so far I don’t like it one little bit. You could say that the internet makes the recession more bearable as there are all those networks to help people get jobs and there is eBay for buying second-hand things.
Yet such things are trivial compared to what the internet is doing to our confidence. The internet has created a global psyche. The web has mentally joined us at the hip, so we can no longer put our heads in the sand. If that sounds painfully contorted, it is because it is. Just as no country can decouple itself from the ailing global economy, none of us as individuals can decouple ourselves from the ailing global psyche.
Through blogs, websites and e-mails, the world’s economic ills are fed to us on a drip all day long. It is not just that we hear about bad things faster, we hear about more of them and in a more immediate way. My worries become yours and yours become mine. On the internet, a trouble shared is not a trouble halved. It is a trouble needlessly multiplied all over the world.