Sub-Editing Skills Lost In Fire


“Australia fires claim more lives”


“Australia police target arsonists”

These two headlines are from the BBC News website. OK, I can hear you now. “Yeah, there’s an “N” missing from Australia, but geez Will, why be such a pedant about spelling and grammar?”

Well, a single typo is excusable, but it crops up all over the BBC website. That’s not so much a typo as half-way to being institutionalized. But wait, it gets worse.


Here’s some screen grabs from The Telegraph, The Huffington Post and the venerable New York Times.


Fack! Is there some new drug doing the rounds of the newsrooms of the world? We’ve had Es, are anti-Ns the new substance of abuse?


Couldn’t these overpaid lard-arse sub-editors at least chuck on an apostrophe and an “S” if they can’t manage an “N”?


How hard can this be to get right? For godsakes, it’s a fucking country, after all! Don’t they get taught this shit at journalism skool?

Astonishingly, The Graudian actually managed to get “Australia,” “Australian” and “Australia’s” completely correct! Contrary bastards.


3 Responses to Sub-Editing Skills Lost In Fire

  1. crystal says:

    Wait ’til they start using “…”

  2. blyth spirit says:

    Is Graudian a fraudian slip?

  3. Nick says:

    Some thoughts – (the first perhaps for one of your more serious musings, which I like); do you think this ‘search for arsonists’ is part of same psychological need to ‘blame’ people for everything in a world where individuals have an unnatural belief in the control of disorder (apart from the more pragmatic political expediency of diverting blame from government planning and funding of firefighters, rescue plans etc etc)? It’s a long question so have a tea break half way through, and make sure the fires haven’t crept up on you.

    Do you think if there really are a band of arsonists out there (I’ve heard even Al Q’eda are being blamed), that the firebugs may include renegade Englishmen who were trying to get even at all the mockery in the overseas & Oz press about our woeful lack of wintering skills?

    Do you think there’s a real weirdness now at times of grief in not knowing what forms of behaviour are appropriate ? I mean, the good thing about a stiff upper lip is you know what’s expected; likewise ” wailing ‘ Middle Easterners ‘ ” have an accepted form for dealing with social grief etc. What struck me listening to some of the – terrible – stories of flight from the fires was this kinda nervous tick towards the cameras, and then people going into a Ophra Winfrey mode of breakdown. It feels most odd as though we now have to act out our emotions for others, rather than discuss then or deal with them in our own way.

    Being part of an (English) society where we can’t even decide how to greet each other (one thing the French actually do do much better), I wonder if there’s any hope for us. Then again, we did manage well with a ‘how do you do’ for quite a while so perhaps a new social form will emerge???

    I’ve put a pair of asbestos pants and a kevlar mouse mitten in the post to you so you can keep blogging in extremis.

    Now I’ve finally posted this note, what also strikes me is that ‘what happened to the fires; what happened to the ‘news’? Melbourne was Hellbound, in purgatory, the fires lapping at the City Gates; and now, at least the view form Europe is… well nothing. The news agenda has moved on. What has emerged from the ashes?

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