SADLY, we have grown accustomed in recent years to seeing arrogant and uncaring newspaper managements shifting subbing jobs from individual newspapers to centralised production hubs. These faceless fuckwits take no account of the ruined careers and wrecked marriages left behind; their sole concern is the bottom line and the size of their next bonus. Want to keep your job? Well it’s moving to the other side of the country. Put your house on the market, find new schools for your children, tell your wife that she’s moving away from friends and family, and all because of a single stroke of a beancounter’s ballpoint.
The latest victims of this pointless pogrom are 29 subs on Newsquest’s titles in Darlington, York and Bradford, whose jobs are moving 270 miles away from York to Newport in South Wales. Now we’re not talking about a bundle of nondescript weekly freesheets here which can no longer sustain their own staffs. Included in the cull are 11 subs from the Northern Echo, by anybody’s standards a ‘proper’ newspaper. Founded in 1870, it is a paragon of the provincial Press and numbers Sir Harry Evans amongst its former editors. And at the heart of this very individual newspaper are its subs, a fount of local knowledge and finely attuned to the needs of the readership.
Would some child in a suit in a production hub in a different country know that Baron Gisborough is based in Guisborough? Or that there is a Chesnut (not Chestnut) Street in Darlington?
In this case it’s also very hard to see where there might be any financial benefit to Newsquest. Are wages in South Wales really that much lower than they are in the North? I very much doubt it.
And why is it necessary to physically move these jobs in the first place? Any of us can work from anywhere these days. Sitting amongst the Monster Munch crumbs at my desk here in my home office, I can write, sub, design and lay out a page before sending it directly to the printers, work that not that long ago would have involved five different people. If its a matter of downsizing to a smaller office space, then just let people work from home. And don’t give me that bullshit about that arrangement being difficult to manage. In my own painful, personal experience, home-workers put in far more hours on far more days than any office-bound clock-watcher.
So what’s the point? Has some time-and-motion man decided that a content curator in Newport has suddenly got sufficient downtime to sub a page of Tees Valley village news? Or is this just a triumph of corporate dogma over common sense? I’ll leave you to decide.
THE LIBERAL leftie Twittermob is up in arms because poor Jim Davidson has had the temerity to go and ‘win’ Celebrity Big Brother. How dare such a racist, sexist, abusive misogynist be accorded such an honour? Strip him of his title and run lots of stories about his disgraceful past, including his close but totally innocent encounter with Officer Yewtree,
Hang on, peeps. It’s a fucking television game show. On Channel 5 to boot. And, however much it might offend your politically correct sensibilities, Jim Davidson came out on top because members of the great unwashed British public picked up the phone and spent their hard-earned money voting for him. And that public – the demographic which watches CBB and votes for inmates – would not normally be one which follows a slightly dodgy 1980s comedian, so he must have been doing something right.
Of course, that’s if you don’t believe the rumours about his friendship with Channel 5 owner Richard Desmond, the effectiveness of some skilful and judicious editing and the master plan to unveil a new figurehead for the low-rent network…
The Grey Cardigan has been in newspapers since the days of hot metal and expense accounts. After a lengthy career as chief sub on several regional newspapers, plus a multitude of shifts on the nationals, he was appointed editor of the Evening Beast in 2009 before being ignominiously 'rationalised' last year. He is currently collecting gas in jam jars in case the Russians cut us off. @thegreycardigan