Posted by: Ciaran | March 5, 2010

Production day ten

I was back on the subbing benches last night and today, and with much less trepidation than last time. I don’t mind designing, and I’m not entirely useless at it, but I feel like a bit a fish out of water – I’d much sooner be out chasing up stories and doing doorsteps than chained to a desk going through pictures and reading copy. It’s two different strands of creativity, and I am just not artistic enough to feel comfortable designing things all the time.

But there are some important lessons about reporting which I have picked up while being a sub-editor. The first is the importance of thinking visually about stories – copy is strengthened so much by having effective pictures to accompany it, and they can really make the difference when picking what should go in to a paper. When I’m out chasing a story my predominant thought is always who I should speak to and what questions I should ask, and the visuals are tagging along behind.

It’s only when you sit down in front of a computer and try and lay up a page that you realise just how important pictures are to a story – they really add weight to the copy and make a sub much more likely to run a piece with good pictures over one that doesn’t.

The other thing I learned today was from reading stories which my peers brought in: the news stories from Fi, Sarah, Tom and Rob were all really tight and they made me think more about how to sharpen the way I write and little ways in which we differ. Their work required basically no subbing, which made my life – with a lot of changes approaching deadline – a lot easier.



  1. If all else fails, stick in a picture of a University building…

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