Woman in sumo wrestler suit causes sub to wet their pants over lesbian-ex-lover-chocolate-jealousy-assault story and triggers global Twitter alert over mega-deck tabloid headline

Headline is the story

Thanks to Solo1Y for spotting this header.

Guardian pullquote in herey herey type

Dummy copy

Dummy copy left in The Guardian

I guess this is why they call it dummy copy. Hat-tip to Jack Kirby for this lovely miss by Guardian subs. Can anyone confirm which issue it was in?

Why live blogging and curation offer a renaissance for subs and their art

Last week I discovered Andy Bull on Twitter. Andy is a former national newspaper journalist who went on to become editorial director of AOL UK and editor of The Times Online. Now a multimedia trainer, he’s been trying out the recent rack of curation tools to tell a story (here he is on Scoop.It; here I am on Bundlr).

Further conversations led me to ask Andy to write Subs’ Standards’ first guest blog. It’s a great read and will hopefully inspire sub-editors who are in transition from print. If this is you, or you are digital subbing already, or you’d like to guest-post, please get in contact via comments or email me at fionacullinan at hotmail dot com.

Andy Bull

Andy Bull, multimedia journalist and trainer

There weren’t many pleasures working for the Daily Mail.

One was to see the splash sub at work on the night of a very big story: the sort that turned from 1 to 2, 3, 4 and 5.

To see the many ingredients being fed to him, and those items diced, sliced and fed into the sort of seamless read-through of a big and complex story that the Mail excels at, was a joy. Or what passed for joy in that torture chamber.

That skill came to mind when I was working on tuition on Curation and Live Blogging for my training book and website, Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.

Curation is getting a lot of attention these days, as is live blogging. Guardian.co.uk’s live blogs won it 3.6 million new unique users last month [March 2011].

Yet while curation and live blogging are seen by some as new skills, and ones particularly suited to the new ways of reporting being developed for the web, it strikes me that they are infact very well-established skills indeed.

The sort of skills that any good sub has in spades.

Generally, the move to online news has not been kind to the art of sub-editing. It’s often considered an expendable link in the chain from reporter to (web) page. I don’t happen to agree with that, and I have the many typos on my website to support my view.

But I do think curation and live blogging offer great prospects for sub-editors. After all, what they involve is, rather than a lot of direct reporting, the selection, editing and mashing up of all sorts of inputs, from both professional and citizen journalists – or what I prefer to call eye-witnesses.

Any good sub can excel at these, and I believe subs should seize the opportunities offered by such developments in online media to underline their usefulness and carve out a redefined role for themselves.

To re-brand yourself from sub to curator and live blogger might even make management see you in a new light.

Footnote: Andy Bull offers an e-learning conversion course for print journalists, which gives practical experience in applying traditional skills to the new multimedia and mobile publishing platforms. You’ll find the details here.

Strip search finds crack between buttocks


A gift of a story for the sub-editor generates another classic naughty headline, this time courtesy of WYFF4 television station in South Carolina (via Common Sense Journalism). Did this make the TV news too? Would love to have seen the anchor deliver the line.

Starting to gather quite a collection of rude heads – see Top 10 rudest headlines in the world ever, possibly from the hyperbolic list era of 2008, and some more recent headline funnies.

Editing isn’t as easy as everyone thinks


Along with a bajillion others, I read about 26-year-old Amanda Hocking’s success in publishing her e-books on Kindle in a blog post called A Very Rich Indie Writer. She has self-published nine books and sold 100,000+ copies of those ebooks per month. PER MONTH!

After becoming internet phenomenon of the week a couple of weeks ago, she responded with this: Some things that need to be said – in which the above quote appears.

I’m making it Quote of the Week. Editing is an invisible but essential function, designed to tidy up, improve, fact-check, legal check, make more readable, cut the fluff and otherwise hone the content to be a better read for the audience. What sub-editors do goes far beyond basic grammar and spell checks.

And self-editing is hard (impossible, I would say).

Good luck to Amanda Hocking. With her inspiring success as an independent book publisher and all her hard work, she is surely now in the realm of affording a good editor. But with several recent features on the Lost art of editing, I hope she can find one.

As for me, I recently downloaded my first Kindle for Android e-book – Poke the Box – inspired by Seth Godin’s new publishing venture The Domino Project.

Both Poke the Box (which has a central message of ‘Go!’, or JFDI) and Amanda Hocking are shaping my own e-book idea. More of which, hopefully, in a future post.

Girls’ school still offering ‘something special’ – head


Fantastic! Can’t believe I missed this one but I shall belatedly add this to my list of naughtiest headlines. Did the sub know? Or is it a classic blooper? It’s been  fixed for the online edition but the lovely internet has already archived a scan of it and sent it around the world. (It was sent to me by an Aussie journalist friend who saw it in The Australian.)

Reminds me of the time I left a reporter’s headline on a music review and got roundly told off on delivery day for ‘Sweet folk all’.  You can read the story of that in my post on the Top 10 rudest headlines in the world ever, possibly.

2010 Subs’ Standards in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 20 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 76 posts. There were 16 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was August 11th with 700 views. The most popular post that day was 10 reasons Wanky Balls cockup may not be lazy journalism.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were blogs.journalism.co.uk, twitter.com, fleetstreetblues.blogspot.com, journalism.co.uk, and facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for my tornado hell, caroline phillips tornado, funny obama headlines, online tone, and gay dix.


These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


10 reasons Wanky Balls cockup may not be lazy journalism August 2010


‘My tornado hell’, my red pen heaven December 2008


RIP Sub-editing: Does email have a hyphen and does anyone care? – pt 3 April 2010


RIP Sub-editing: the rise of technology – pt 2 April 2010


Starter kit: how to blog for your company April 2010