THE DIGITAL transformation of the regional newspaper business has cost many sub-editors their jobs, yet in some respects their skills are needed more than ever.
Subs (read Charlotte Baxter’s wry job description here) were once the beating heart of the newsroom. Usually journalists of experience (and sometimes of prodigious talent), they were the guardians of the paper’s soul.
The subs policed its style, established its character, and watched obsessively for errors in fact, spelling and grammar.
But by far their most important role was to write headlines, the words that caught the eye and made browsing readers stop and pay attention, so that when they put the paper away they felt satisfied and eager to read the next issue.
Such skills are just as vital online, where there is more competition than ever for readers’ attention.
One of the most successful digital news operations of the age understands this.
Its huge audience growth has been achieved largely on the back of its famously irresistible headlines.
And the way to get stories noticed and shared is with skilfully crafted, intriguing headings written by journalists who understand what makes people tick.