Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Editorial: The small print

One of the things that wise old hands in print journalism always used say to newbies into the industry was, "Look after the small stuff." That is to say, a publication where the details are strong is a publication doing well: no spelling mistakes, text locked to baseline grid, captions scrubbed hard, and so forth.

The sign of a publication on song is where the subbing goes beyond competence and into the realm of entertainment. On that measure, Observer Sport is a publication singing lustily right now. As evidence, get hold of a copy of today's supplement, and in the centre-spread half term report on the Premiership so far, have a look at the bottom right-hand corner.

The section is titled 'The small print', and what could have been a dry litany of dull stats is enlivened by the canny use of footballing slang as headings. To whit:

*On the spot - Penalties scored
*Big man - Headed goals
*Slide-rule - Passes
*Hard as nails - Tackles
*In the mixer - Crosses
*No prisoners - Fouls
*Caught in a trap - Cuaght offside
*Safe hands - Clean sheets
*Cow, banjo - Shots without scoring

All that was needed was some way of working 'early doors' and 'Hollywood ball' into that list.

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