Diary of a journalism post-grad, chapter 18

WHO would be a sub? Late nights and little thanks – what are the rewards?

Admittedly, I have learned a lot this week and very quickly too, but I have also discovered that I am not built for subbing purposes. I like lists, so that suits, but other than that, the power of Quark is beyond me.

In the past week, I mentioned to my production teacher that I found subbing quite methodical and his response was simply laughter. Still, my stint as production manager was in no way as bad as I had expected. I had no trouble bossing people about when I needed to and picked up so many short cuts on the design software that it was almost unnoticeable that I had only started to learn it in September.

Towards the end of this week I began to find the subbing process quite addictive. If there were changes to be made to any pages I felt the compulsion to continue editing late into the night to get it over and done with. There never seemed to be a natural place to finish. Only when my appointed editor-in-chief dragged me away from the sterile basement Mac lab did I stop.

By the last day, I had a grand time plan for what needed doing, by whom and by when.

This was working perfectly until two o’clock when, suddenly, time became elastic and I lost all idea of what pages had already been proofed and what still needed doing. It didn’t help that our tutors (who had been absent until this point) started floating around my right hand shoulder pointing out mistakes and suggesting new layouts and whole new angles for articles.

I was, however, particularly proud of the end product. I felt I had really managed to standardise the style compared to our previous week’s edition. This was mainly due to a succession of late nights spent alone in uni. These aside, our news team was particularly strong this week. They dealt with several breaking stories deftly – including corruption allegations against the woman in our profile feature – causing minimal changes to my subbing agenda.

Our final paper, and almost our final week of term, was celebrated with tiny paper cups of well deserved champagne and a long session in the local pub. Hopefully, the rest of today is off as well.

Next week promises rounds of shorthand tests for the unlucky few who are yet to reach 100 words-a-minute and some final training in libel and privacy law before we are unleashed into the cold hard job market. We are all so close to the end and I cannot, in particular, believe how quickly the last few weeks have gone – that’s what spending four days in a below sea level computer room can do to you, I suppose.

Laura x