Pissed-off hack lets off steam

This is ace, and sums up quite precisely why I don’t like writing pieces for the North Staffordshire Evening Sentinel.

Our hero has form too, i (STET, it’s in honour of ee cummings you gormless tossppots!) have discovered this morning. More bad temper here.

NOTE: This post is un-subbed.

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12 Responses to Pissed-off hack lets off steam

  1. markelt says:

    In all my years as a journalist, every sub I’ve ever had the misfortune to work with has been pernickety, humourless, touchy, afraid of opinions, bitter, overly sensitive to legals, and not half as clever as they think they are. Good for Giles Coren, I say.

  2. calvininjax says:

    As a former member of Her Majesty’s Subbing Brigade, I strongly refute the comments made in the above post. 😉

    As for dear Giles, it is not a sub-editor’s job to pander to private jokes. If something is not immediately apparent to the reader then it has no place in the published article. The fact that he had to go to some length to describe his usage of “a nosh” proves the point.

    I would imagine the editor will back his subbing team and tell Giles to stop behaving like a silly tart!

    Your most humble, pernickety, humourless, touchy, bitter and rather clever servant,


  3. Stephen Foster says:

    Fight fight fight!

    On a specific point you raise there Calvin, I don’t think it’s a private joke, rather it’s an integrated internal joke that’s available for those to get who do get it. It doesn’t detract much not to get it; and we’re not talking about news here either, it’s a restaurant review: does the audience need to ‘understand’ this sort of thing instantly, or is it more as Coren believes it – to be read for the quality and care applied to the writing as much as for the content?

  4. calvininjax says:

    As it stands “a nosh” is gibberish and I re-iterate, it is the sub-editor’s job to make the review readable for all the readers.

    Now, that sentence is taken in isolation. If the rest of the article makes it clear or alludes to what “a nosh” referred to then it should have been allowed to stand.

    Also, if “a nosh” is a widely used term, I certainly didn’t understand it but I have been away from the UK for several years, again it should have been allowed to stand.

    There are apocryphal tales of fights having broken out because a sub-editor removed a comma from a columnist’s piece. With these venerable chaps, the sub-editor is supposed to ask first.

  5. AndyP says:

    I think that’s the finest thing I’ve seen in print in a long while. There’s not enough passionate ranting going on. Nice work Giles.

  6. Stephen Foster says:

    He makes the distinction between buying ‘scoff’ and going for ‘a scoff’ to support ‘a nosh’ in his argumant though, Calvin.

    I suppose your subs would of* told Dylan Thomas that he couldn’t use the expression that it happened ‘a grief ago,’ what with grief not being a verb and all.

    A paradigm shift to the lot of you.

  7. chiffs says:

    My Giles Coren favourite: on trying to get his mouth round a Findus Crispy pancake –
    “like eating baby food from a hot slipper”.
    Close runner-up, a description of some fake, stringy WW2 pudding:
    ‘like sucking cream through a tramp’s hair”.

    the boy is a f***ing genius even if he carn’t spel and don’t no wear the CAPS key is (ee cummings my arts)

  8. markelt says:

    Any editor who backs his subbing team ahead of a writer is a weasel. Sub-editors are just spell checkers with bodily functions. 🙂

  9. calvininjax says:

    Sort of the journalistic equivalent of Tony Pulis?

    What an easy job I had all those years ago. 😉

    Stephen, I don’t think Dylan Thomas would have been contributing “a grief ago” to a news room, do you?

  10. Stephen Foster says:

    No, I’m being disengenous in mixing my genres there, but Coren isn’t writing news is he, he’s in features where there might be an expectation of a bit of artistic licence as opposed to ‘dumb it down so every thick twot can understand it.’

  11. calvininjax says:

    That’s a fair point. In an ideal world, the sub should have contacted Coren and asked about “a nosh.” And with Coren’s explanation, it would have survived.

    Maybe the sub did and Coren failed to respond, in which case the sub, faced by a deadline, had to make a decision.

    Have there been floods of letters pointing out that the omission of “a” destroyed the piece? Or is it just Coren who has complained?

    I would like to hear both sides of the story in this affair.

    I would hardly say that the content of The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent has been “dumbed down” and yet it will have passed through the hands of at least two sub-editors, sorry spell-checkers, 😉 and the night editor.

    Strikes me that the silly season for newspapers, the month of August when there is little in the way of news, has come a little early this year.

  12. OS. says:

    “as opposed to ‘dumb it down so every thick twot can understand it.’”

    Even I got the gist of wot ‘e wos saying and I’m a thick twot.

    LOL. 🙂

    M. le etc…

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