Never wrong for long

19 Feb

… sorry, what?

It seems clear what’s happened. Someone at the Daily Mail has been alerted to a developing situation at the ITV studios and burst out of their office shouting “Phil and Holly’s chef hasn’t shown up, so the king and queen of daytime TV are winging it live in the kitchen! GET SOMETHING UP ABOUT IT NOW!” And the breaking news desk, leaping into action, and probably assisted by a further helpful visit from management (“IS THAT UP YET?”), has pulled a story together and got it live on the site. The first take went up at 12.24pm, while that day’s edition of This Morning was still on air, which is good going. The trouble is, it does need a bit of a polish:

An economist?

What’s she going to do, advise them to diversify out of euro-dominated debt and purchase more equity exposure?

But this is the web, not print, and where a hastily published story goes, the revise desk can follow. Nothing’s set in (or on a) stone; everything can be fixed. About an hour later, a repair crew arrives and the opening paragraph is refettled:

The new lede is also followed by a proper nut graf:

and a clearer third par:

But not everything has been fixed, alas, as is frequently the case with publish-now-edit-later stories. “Ensure Holly and Phil incase they hurt themselves” remains extant, although further down the text than before. The economist is still the economist, even though ITV’s official video of the incident shows Schofield immediately correcting himself to say home economist. And the hastily constructed elegant variation – “blonde mother of three”, “golden-haired co-presenter” – looks like it’s now baked into the story for good.

That’s the trouble with “back-revising”, as it is known at the Tribune. In theory, you can go back to polish things up, but there’s never quite time to do it properly, so the first take all too often ends up as the final take. However much attention a published story might need, there’s always something else that hasn’t gone live yet, about which the desk is now shouting just as loudly.

2 Responses to “Never wrong for long”

  1. Ben February 19, 2019 at 11:03 pm #

    Not so much “never wrong for long” as “always wrong for ever”.
    It’s these stories chortling about huge blunders and disaster striking that you really want to get right as a sub. (Or at least to have a decent revise sub on hand to ensure you incase you miss anything.)

    • edlatham February 20, 2019 at 12:01 am #

      Yes! And it would also help if the desk would calm down a bit and let you work – if it’s a jolly story about popular TV presenters, it’s not the end of the world if you take an extra extra 10 minutes

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