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.
So while I get this blog back on is feet (not to mention my history blog at Chronica Minora), connect with the Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.
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.
This shot of wind tower in Jaipur is one of my favourite photos of recent times. And it certainly helps take one’s mind off the carnage that’s going on in Mumbai.
While on the subject of great photographs, here are ten of Hubble’s best before it gets decommissioned in 2010.
Say phooey to that digital alarm clock and get a pin one instead.
Although given its recent track record (read “Vista”), Microsoft has got a fair bit right.
Could newspapers have survived the web?
The credit crunch/economic meltdown has thrown up all sorts of new financial terms. Just to add one: apparently Nokia refers to “synergy-related headcount adjustments”, better known to you and me as redundancies.
I’m quite lukewarm. There are far fewer links to stories, and the general division by region is gone, collected under a drop-down menu at the top. The background is similar to the colour of the print edition, but it’s a mistake to use grey text: it almost blends in to the background and is difficult to read. It needs a lot of work.
A German doctor has cured a HIV-positive patient with a bone marrow transplant.
Roald Dahl retold through surrealist photos.
Who says newspapers are dead? Turn your RSS feeds into a PDF paper.
Printers, scanners, fax machines, built-in optical drives and landline phones are junk sucking you down into hell and should be destroyed for the sake of your very soul. Or words to less than apocalyptic affect.
I know you didn’t think of this before: a weak sun may have brought down the Mayans as well as China’s Tang dynasty (Subscription required if you want to read the Science article linked to by the link).
Archaeologists shed new light on the witches of Cornwall.
A German lady has failed to set a record for carrying beer mugs. No puns on huge jugs, please.
Because science is awesome we can now clone formerly extinct animals.
Because science is dumb a HIV vaccine actually increased the risk of infection.
I think Dilbert has given us a way out of taking responsibility for the economic crisis.
Jeff Jarvis on a future for news media:
I proposed a problem to solve: What if a city, say Philadelphia, loses its paper tomorrow. What would you build in its place to serve the community? The [working] group went to town. Rather than trying to hack at the old, they build something new.
They calculated the likely revenue Philadelphia could support online and then figured out what they could afford in staffing. Instead of the 200-300-person newsroom that has existed in print, they decided they could afford 35 and they broke that down to include a new job description: “community managers who do outreach, mediation, social media evangelism.” They settled on three of those plus 20 content creators, two programmers, three designers, five producers (I think they were a bit heavy on those two), and — get this — only three editors.
I’m glad I don’t have money saved with Bank of Ireland.
Flickr’s three billionth photo.
No duh headline on a very important story: How HIV changed ex-addict’s life.