23 March 2008

Media Diet Week 12

Press: Tuesday saw me not only battling a deadline, but also procrastinating like crazy (it's a freelance affliction, that). Which is no doubt why I spent almost all of Tuesday reading firstly the Macca/Mucca divorce judgment in full (because who can resist the lure of such a document once it's in the public domain?) and secondly, every single daily newspaper online, bar the Daily Star and the Morning Star, so I could savour every juicy morsel of the immediate reaction in the hackosphere. It's not often I trawl the Telegraph, Mirror, Mail and Express for any reason at all. But it served as a useful reminder as to why I don't normally bother with them. I was also quite tickled over the climbdown by the Express and its stablemates regarding their coverage of Madeleine McCann. As Roy Greenslade said, so eloquently, it was unprecedented. It still leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, though. Journalists have a piss-poor image among the public at the best of times. The Express débâcle will only serve to reinforce that view.

Blogs: I was entertained earlier in the week when stumbling across the Proof Prof. It's only 2 entries old, but serves to highlight all the reasons why it's a good idea to hire someone who is fully qualified and charges more. From the nonsensical hyphen in "non-sensical" to the absurd view that the "rule of thumb is a maximum two commas per sentence" (wherever did he get that from? It's not in any of the proofreader's standard reference works such as Hart's), why would anyone give work to someone who has yet to grasp basic punctuation and grammar ("These charges are apply until 30th September 2008", anyone)? Talking of the latter, £3 per 1,000 words is snatching the bread from the mouths of fully qualified and highly experienced proofreaders who actually know what they are doing. Copy-editors and proofreaders have seen far too much work vanish abroad to places such as India where it's done for less money and comes back in a state still unfit for publication. It's hard enough keeping rates at a sensible level that reflect the skill required - my colleagues can well do without trainees undercutting them. In a month where Archant can announce their proposal to dispense with sub-editors, it seems even more vital to maintain standards everywhere else. I sincerely hope Proof Prof is an early April Fool...

TV/radio: I hate it when the Beeb mucks around with the schedules. It was with something approaching close to panic that I discovered Torchwood appeared to have been axed for Wednesday next week and it was only by chance I learned that the episode had been shifted to Friday (and the subsequent one). As Friday was earmarked for a night out socialising in Manchester with other freelance hacks, once again, iPlayer proved its worth - I was able to watch Tanya bury Max alive in EastEnders at a convenient moment yesterday afternoon. And I saw the trailer for the new Doctor Who series, which arrives very soon. Hurrah! And Catherine Tate's in it. Not hurrah. Quite the opposite. She was bloody dreadful in the 2006 Xmas special. I suppose I should be grateful James Nesbitt has announced he's not interested in taking over from David Tennant.

Books: I'm close to finishing the quite dreadful and ridiculously slow Water Like a Stone. Thank gawd. And only because I spent several hours on trains in and out of Manchester on Friday, which requires a book in one's handbag. I've been reading crime novels since I was 7 years old and my mother gave me my first Agatha Christie. Water Like a Stone was one of the dullest I have ever opened. I have two more whodunnits awaiting my attention - I look forward to having my faith restored.

Apologies for the lateness of the media diet this week. Friday's boozing and my having to work almost all of yesterday (first at a press junket that was less interesting than expected, then blogging the evening away for a TV collective) meant it got pushed back. But I still love my new monitor. And who knows - I might find time to start Tabloid Tycoon proper this week, now that I've done the tutorial...

2 comments:

Juliet said...

Thanks for the link to Proof Prof. Hilarious. And more than a little worrying . . .

wordsmith_for_hire said...

The "are apply" has been cleaned up, but I still fear for the punters...