Dominant subs

Sub-editing is a delicate art. Tasked with ensuring the readability and correctness of an article, the sub is essentially a filter for the text that passes through the publication house to the reader.

Headline writing is a key aspect of the role, and probably the most difficult. Take some of our favourite Sun headlines:

1. When Caledonian Thistle beat Celtic in a shock win, the sports pages ran with the joyful ‘Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious’;
2. When North Korea tested its first nuclear device in 2006, the inquisitive ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea?’; or
3. When Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope: the simple ‘Papa Ratzi’. (Our personal favourite; ‘Papa Nazi’, a reference to Ratzinger’s experience in the Hitler Youth, was reputedly rejected).

But once in a while, a sub-editor takes the news into his or her own hands and surreptitiously creates a headline him- or herself. This is the sub-editor fighting back; so often unsung heroes and heroines, the sub uses the cloak of anonymity his or her position affords and strikes back at those who trample on subs. Like the sub who sent this abusive letter from Giles Coren to the Guardian Media site.

Or, simply, the sub-editor who allowed this article, sent to the DLR by a reader, to go online with the URL as is.

For all these nuggets of linguistic joy, the DLR salutes sub-editors of the world. And not only because we don’t want our copy to become the wrathful plaything of an irate sub.

Update: It seems someone at the Indy is really gunning for their P45, with another priceless URL.

Update update: It now seems that it wasn’t someone at the Indy but a crafty bugger outside it. The DLR learnt last night that it all had to do with frames, pages, servers and internet pixies. Suffice to say, we didn’t understand but our view of sub-editors fighting back remains. The Indy has now fixed all the links.

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