One of the few joys left in life for retired hack newspaper scribes is to look at mistakes in that other dying sector of journalism – the printed newspaper – and pose the question: how on earth did that happen?
They get to tut-tut and reflect on how their own time in the wonderful craft was clearly the best of all tyme. Far superior to those who had come before or those who followed, the few lucky enough to snap one of the dwindling jobs left in an industry in it’s death throws.
At top is the sought of mistake that evokes the ‘how on earth’ response. The sentence with “…the official footage of has their falls edited out”.
Bear in mind that retired hack newspaper scribes – has there ever been a sadder description? – are decent folk at heart, especially old hack subs. They’ll not make fun of simple mistakes in newspapers like using “rein” instead of “reign or the wrong “it’s” or “its” because they accept the writer has simply had a brian-fade and their’s no subs any more to pick it up.
Some might still scoff when “just desserts”, “hair-brained” or “renumeration” get threw but they are the exception rather than the rule and most likely have did Senior English.
But our example for today is a doozie because it’s from a different area: where a whole sentence is stuffed up. And that takes sum doing.
It’s from The Fitz Files, Peter Fitzsimons’ column in the weekend SMH so we can all naturally assume the author got it write first time around. He is, after all, from the old school and is very, very good.
So how has the sub-editor – Nine had promised to employ some after buying the SMH and other Fairfax mastheads – managed to fuck up this sentence which is preferable to saying ‘managed to fuck this sentence up’?
Clearly, heshit (that’s the way we at The Bug degender and dehumanise the singular “he/she/it”) has mangled whatever the author wrote, which we suspect would have been “…the official footage of the race has their falls edited out”.
The sub, under pressure to do the daily work of three or four subs from the era that our sadsack retired hack newspaper scribes wetdream about, tried to take out “of the race” but left the “of” behind. Or something similar.
The Bug knows on good authority that subs normally aren’t allowed to change anything in any The Fitz Files column. It’s just their privilege – neigh honour – to get to read it first.
Legend has it that a sub actually maid grammatical changes to won such column in the Fairfax era and heshit was taken out the back of the building and shot.
What we do no is that whoever rote The Fitz Files four Fitzsimons this weak is likely to be absolutely livid and heads could role.
– Nod Browne-Gorden