I SOMETIMES think we make this editing lark a bit too complicated.
Ok, so guilty as charged with the three-day training course I have devised, modestly called ‘How to be a Great Editor’ (£895 + VAT, discount for early booking) and apologies to the surprised reader who emailed me this week in cantankerous tones about why we use ages of people in stories only to get a pompous “in all my years as an editor...” phone call.
Today we’re sat in the newsroom in the middle of the first of three long, short weeks (© Blaylock, D. M.) trying to decide what to do with a half-decent tale about a popular town centre restaurant that we learn is closing down. It has succumbed to the pressures of cheaper competition and the site will be sold off for housing, or more likely ‘Delightful Waterfront Residences’.
I don’t like holding anything (insert own joke here) but the only decent space, without tearing up too many finished pages, is back in the twenty-somethings. Next week – a three-day week in the weekly newspaper world – it will get a decent show and maybe even make the front if we dress it up a bit.
So, what to do?
Easy. Toss a coin.
Deputy editor Paul tossed, I called heads and the story lives on to have greatness thrust upon it. It is the result we wanted, but validated by the transparency of the simple flip of a coin.
So, here’s a plan for next week: Newspaper Roulette. Every story is taken in turn, we spin the wheel and the stories are placed from pages 1-36 depending on where the ball falls. Any that fall in 0 are spiked.
As that reader, who called me “The Worst Editor Ever”, will probably agree it seems as good a way as any...