What are the Qualifications of a Sub-editor?



A sub-editor must have an easy command of good English and be able not only to express clearly his own ideas but to turn the diffused, slipshod, or round-about language of others into direct, simple, and lucid wording without changing its meaning.

He must be a man of even temperament able to keep a cool-head when the pace is at its hottest and not got rattled when late news necessitates a big and sudden change in the balance of a story.

He must be scrupulously fair and always on his guard against doing an injustice through a fault of either omission or commission, whether the offence is actionable or not.

The more important qualifications looked for in the men at the sub-editor's table are: instinct for news ; ability to make deci­sions; ruthlessness, conscientiousness, keenness on the job and some ideals; a good memory ; health and sight which can stand the strain of continued night work ; and a sense of humour. If any reader feels that he possesses all these qualifications he can enter the journalistic field with complete confidence; for the perfect sub-editor is a rara avis who need never be out of employment.

In majority of the daily newspaper offices the sub-editing of home and overseas news is carried out in the same room although by separate staffs. The old days of water-tight compartments are passing, and on the whole, one feels that a single room makes for efficiency and smooth running.