Cross head 28-02-03

The sub who’s ragged but right

what’s the word?

“Want to add three to four inches to your penis?” No? Me neither. More welcome in my inbox is the daily e-mail from A Word a Day. Each one looks at an obscure word and gives definitions, etymology and examples – many from the UK press – of how to use it. Thus the Daily Mirror’s Paul Routledge is used to explain “suppurate” (“Simple Sophie has brought this suppurating carbuncle on the face of public life to the boil”) and a 1998 Kevin Myers piece in The Sunday Telegraph shows the meaning of “bobby” (“I never thought the day would come when I would cheer at the arrest of a fellow journalist by the police, but I did last week when the fair Miss Dawn Alford, intrepid sleuth of the Mirror, had her collar felt by her local bobbies”). Other familiar names cited include Paul Dacre (“yellow journalism”), David Aaronovitch (“lavage”), Dylan Jones (“dekko”) and Andrew Rawnsley (“French leave”). All the words are archived at www.wordsmith.org.

THINGS OVERHEARD ON THE NEWSDESK NO.2: “They’re doing it again, they’re doing it again. They’re rewriting my intros.”

Ciar foolhardy

Another candidate for the “subs aren’t journalists” club. Ciar Byrne of The Guardian on the possible transfer of Express subs to Lancashire: “One potential pitfall of a remote subbing operation is the loss of newsroom interaction between sub-editors and journalists.”

‘it’ girls and boys The Australian media are being asked to change the way they report child abuse cases. The Kids First Foundation says “a child should be referred to as ‘he’ or ‘she’, even in cases where the gender of the child is unknown”. The foundation says researchers at Monash University found widespread “gender slippage”, with girls and boys called “it”, and this amounted to “textual abuse”. But is wilfully adding an error a real solution? Isn’t it equally bad “textual abuse” for a girl victim to see herself called “he” in a press report and vice versa?

Six appeal teasing

Criticism of Quark’s failure to release a Mac OS X version of QuarkXPress seems to have stung the company into action. A new press release gives a preview of QuarkXPress 6 and speaks of the reorganisation of “some menus” and the addition of “more useful commands”. When will we get it? “Quark has not yet announced pricing or an anticipated ship date for QuarkXPress 6,” it adds. No change there then.

Cross Head returns in two weeks lNext week: Dr Deadline

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