No, these people don’t have editors any more

Years back, when I first started blogging, (2004 if memory serves, Jeebus) I had something of a rallying cry. “Don’t these people have editors?”

I think it was Nick Cohen who used it to describe my blogging style – I certainly used it enough that it became a subsidiary tag line of sorts.

The answer?

It was designed to keep out the Barbarian hoards, but nearly two thousand years after Hadrian’s Wall was erected, the structure is finally succumbing to foreign invasion.

No, not these days they don’t, not at the Telegraph.

The Romans were absolutely delighted for Barbarian hoards to cross the wall, it was the hordes they were less keen upon.

19 thoughts on “No, these people don’t have editors any more”

  1. No doubt all journalists, these days, are amply credentialed. So, by definition, editors are superfluous.

  2. Like the headline of a BBC article from Monday, claiming that someone had ‘refuted’ an allegation but on reading they had merely denied it.

    Murphy claims to have ‘refuted’ lots of things, so it is clear he has no fucking idea what the word means either.

  3. There was an attractive hoard found at Traprain Law, which the scholars of these matters decided might be part of the wealth Rome handed over to keep its client kingdoms as clients. Oddly enough, when the money flows in that direction it’s never called ‘tribute’.

  4. In the late 80s, the business consultant class started the wave, convincing companies that they didn’t need middle management, that employees would pretty much take care of things themselves.

    In industry, this precipitated the 6 Sigma movement. Middle managers weren’t around to optimize the business anymore. They trained people who didn’t know the business on business optimization, producing limited success.

    We had a $30,000,000 factory fire because the workers didn’t keep their workplace as clean as middle management used to demand.

    In the press, this resulted in the elimination of editors. Yeah, journalists wind up being sloppy and irrelevant, but the cost of editors comes straight off the bottom line, and advertisers will buy the product anyway. Remember, the money in periodicals is not in circulation, it is in advertising. You are NOT the customer; you are the product. Things are so “not as they appear” that calling out the Telegraph for using the wrong word probably benefits them.

  5. Like the headline of a BBC article from Monday, claiming that someone had ‘refuted’ an allegation but on reading they had merely denied it.

    Oh, don’t worry: according to Oliver Kamm and his bunch of fellow travelers, refute gets used wrongly so many times that it is now correct.

  6. In industry, this precipitated the 6 Sigma movement.

    You don’t hear much about that any more. It’s been years since I’ve heard some twat refer to himself as a “black belt in 6 Sigma”.

    The middle-management have returned though, but what purpose they serve other than to flatter the upper management I don’t know.

  7. In fact the wall was built not to keep the hordes out, but to keep the hoards in… it being easy enough for the heathen Scoti to climb over the wall with a spear, less easy for them to climb back over with cattle, sacks of grain, stores of food and other goods.

  8. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I was just talking about this with a colleague. On a normal distribution, the CDF at six sigmas is ~0.9999999990134124 or about one part in a billion away from unity. It’s a meaningless phrase.

  9. Six Sigma! I’d forgotten that was a thing.

    The Telegraph is in a downward spiral of uselessness and falling sales. I very rarely read the paper, but it is still tolerable, despite half of its journalists channelling Polly Filla, but the website is utter arse.

  10. Oddly enough, when the money flows in that direction it’s never called ‘tribute’.

    The Romans paid colossal sums to the Huns towards the arse end of Empire to keep them out, and had to double the sum on several occasions. This also was not called ‘tribute’.

  11. Oh, don’t worry: according to Oliver Kamm and his bunch of fellow travelers, refute gets used wrongly so many times that it is now correct.

    None of whom are scientists, I imagine. Or familiar with logic or precise expression.

  12. Gamecock,

    “In the late 80s, the business consultant class started the wave, convincing companies that they didn’t need middle management, that employees would pretty much take care of things themselves.”

    In the case of lots of software organisations I’ve worked in, middle management are a waste of money. I’ve worked in smaller companies where you have middle managers who are basically 80% developer, 20% manager, but in the big places I’ve worked, they’re a different matter.

    “Management need an update on that job”. You start talking to them. “no, I don’t need the technical problems, just when will it be ready”. So, rather than management spending 2 minutes finding the job in the project system, looking up the date, or even sending me an email for that, a sub-40 MILF walks down 2 flights of stairs to ask me a question.

    Large companies are stuffed full of these sub-40 MILFs doing “project co-ordination”. They aren’t adding anything. They aren’t taking problems and suggesting improvements. They are just glorified file mergers and messenger boys, and you could replace them with a few hundred dollars of software.

  13. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Large companies are stuffed full of these sub-40 MILFs doing “project co-ordination”. They aren’t adding anything. They aren’t taking problems and suggesting improvements. They are just glorified file mergers and messenger boys, and you could replace them with a few hundred dollars of software.”

    The civil service has quite a few of those, but mostly they are useles munters.

    The other waste of space from my experience is anyone whose job title incluses the word coordinator. It usually means the have no responsibility and answer to nobody. From my experience in sorting out struggling operators or doing technical due diligence for banks I found the competence of the organisation I eas looking at was inversely proportional to the number of people they employed in the role of coordinator.

  14. There’s also this from the Iran/Osama article today:

    With 470,000 files released in one trance, it will likely take weeks for journalists, academics, and other researchers to shift through the documents in the trove and contextualise their significance.

    Those files must be mesmerising.

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