Sunday, January 06, 2008

The unsung hero(ine).

An editor makes a writer, or a journalist atleast. Over the year and a little more that I have been writing for a living, I've always admired the myriad strengths that a good sub-editor possesses - the skill to re-write, the intelligence to know which construct is indeed clever, the tact to deal with personalities, the sharpness to know by instinct the difference a letter can make and much much else.

Today, I had a verbal scuffle with a good friend over a written piece and as I attempted damage control, I gained some insight into my own strengths. While I played sub-editor, I saw certain shortcomings in me with alarming clarity. It wasn't as much about who was at fault but the way I handled the entire situation. Needless to say it was a messy performance, one that has reinstilled respect for all the men and women whose names the outside world does not see, but without whom the byline would weild less power.

p.s.: P, I forgot that you aren't a journalist and you perhaps don't hold the immunity that this job instills. I'm sorry. :)


anantha said...

I don't claim to be a good writer. In fact I am not at all. But it still pains to read the crap that sometimes appear under a senior journalist's name. Does seniority matter? I think a good editor should also take a stand sometimes. Can you do it and get away with it if you make sense with your argument?

Reminds me of the old Nakkeerar story - the one where Shiva opens his third eye, prompting Nakeerar to say "Netrikkan thirappinum Kutram Kutrame". I think Nakeerar should be made the patron saint of editors.

Also kindly ignore if I don't make much sense for I don't understand the business of writing sometimes. And my grief is mostly with people who write about the arts and cinema in particular.

henmen said...

takes quite some integrity and courage to admit a mistake