What Does a Sub-Editor Do?

It’s a common question: what is a sub-editor. The name would suggest that they are somehow linked to the editor, like a mini version of the person in charge of the whole operation. In fact, sub-editors are the defensive unit that makes sure the publication on which they work doesn’t go to the printers riddled with spelling mistakes.

A sub-editor has many roles:
1. Check copy. “Copy” is another word for “text” or “words”. Writers “file copy”, ie “write some words” and hand it over to the sub-editors who will then read through it in order to pick up spelling mistakes, factual inaccuracies and style points.

2. Cut copy. When a magazine or newspaper page is laid out by the design team, chances are that the copy won’t fit on the page. Writers love to write lots of words. Designers prefer to use pictures, so there’s always going to have to be some sort of happy medium, but this usually involves too many words being put on a page. A sub’s primary job in this instance is to “cut” some of the words out whilst retaining the writer’s meaning and style.

3. Write headlines and captions. While a writer might want to call one of their pieces of work “Twenty-five reasons why this summer’s music festivals are going to be amazing”, the design team might only have left you enough room for 10 characters. It is therefore the job of the sub to condense all of that information into a catchy phrase that encapsulates the whole piece. Aside from the writers and designers, picture editors like to throw their spanners into the works by giving designers a range of images to choose from. These get placed on the page and blank captions get put on them. It is the sub’s job to get the right information and then condense it into the 20-word space left for the caption.

4. Ensure pages keep with the publication’s style. Each magazine or newspaper will have a “house style guide” – a set of rules to follow to ensure continuity in their publications. Rules can extend to the way numbers are written (One to nine in words, 10 and above in figures), date formatting, or even the preferred way to spell certain words (such as “yoghurt/yogurt”, both of which are correct). Every page should adhere to these rules and the subs are there to ensure that they do.

5. Flag up any legal issues. Subs are not lawyers, but they need to have a keen eye for what may get a publication into hot water and liaise with the legal team when necessary to ensure no libel action is taken.

6. Chase people. While writers love to write, they seem to hate deadlines. Subs love deadlines. They love order and continuity. Day to day, a sub will have to make sure that writers are getting their words in on time, designers are laying out pages promptly using pictures that have been gathered efficiently. Think of them like attentive parents in this respect.

Subs are by no means infallible, and mistakes still get through (keep an eye out for a “caption here please” or something similar – usually missed by a sub on deadline), but for the most part, a good team of sub-editors will stop the vast majority of errors making it into print.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Wall of Text That Keeps Online Customers Away

Have you ever been to a flea market? There’s a throng of people wandering around eager to buy. So you do the sensible thing and build a wall around your table. Build a wall around your table? That doesn’t really make much sense. Does it? How are people going buy anything if they can’t see what you offer? Yet this is what many people do on their websites every day. They hide their product or service behind a wall. “The Dreaded Wall of Text.” What is “The Dreaded Wall of Text?” It’s brick after brick of words. Line on top of line. Stretched across the page with no room to breathe. This giant block of text intimidates your potential customer. Keeping them from learning more about your offering. So if you want them to find out more, you’ve got to break down the wall. How do you break down the wall? It’s simple if you remember one thing. Reading online is different from reading offline.

Don’t be afraid to use the return key. Just by adding space between paragraphs you open up your copy and make it less intimidating. Try to keep paragraphs to four lines or less. And yes, even a single sentence as a paragraph is okay.:) We tend to scan first when reading online. Spacing out the text allows the information to look more inviting to your customer. You can also bold key phrases and use sub-heads to draw the reader in. And once they’re reading don’t make them strain. How do you reduce the strain on your customer’s eyes? Keep the width of your lines short. Don’t go across the whole width of the page. Take a look at news sites. They’re built for ease of reading. Notice how the text is kept within a short column. Much like newspapers. Using these short columns reduces eye fatigue for the reader. Too much reading across the page and your customer gives up. One you’ve got their interest you want them to keep reading. And if you can keep your customer reading It’s more likely they’ll take the action you want them to take. And isn’t that what you want?

So remember:


  • Use short paragraphs no longer that four lines
  • Keep the column length to about 14 words
  • Make sure you’ve got sub-heads to draw in the scanners
  • Use this format on your website and emails
  • Go to your site now


Look for some places you can hit the return key. Then you’ll be on your way to breaking down the wall between you and your online customers.

Developing Content and Written Text for Web Sites

“Content is King,” is a widely used term on the online community. “Good Content makes a poor man rich”, is another popular term online. Content is the term that refers to everything you provide on your Web site. Content includes written text, photographs, images and advertisements. It is a proven fact that people do not read extensively online, they only scan to save time. That is why it is extremely important the content that you provide on you Web site needs to be interesting enough to hold your visitor’s attention. That is why Web site owners go to all extents in providing the best content available. How do you provide good content on your Web site? Here are some suggestions that you need to follow when creating a Web site or Web page.

The most important feature of your Web site content is the headline. High-quality headlines hold your visitor enough to gain their interest and keep them reading. One good practice is to use sub headlines. Sub headlines help divide the text or written content on the page and make it easier to read; also it draws the visitor further into the page and possibility even buy. Several Web site content developers embed keywords into the headlines and sub headlines to improve search engine ranking.

The first sentence on the page needs to be extremely effective. Providing benefits or useful information to the readers on the first sentence will maintain them longer on your site. The first sentence is referred to as the “lead”, because it will lead your reader to rest of the page.

Writing articles has the same concept as writing Web pages. However, a good article needs to be at least 500 words or more, where a good Web page only needs to be 150 to 200 words. When writing Web pages keep the visitor from scrolling excessively down the page. Long written text on a Web page will only make your visitor move to a shorter Web site.

Keeping your visitor is the number one goal when creating your Web site. That is why it is important to keep the content short but interesting and informative. In today’s world, people are always in a hurry and do not have time to read everything. By using short terms, short sentences and short pages and by placing the most important information at the top of the page, it will keep your visitors long enough to read the important points that you are providing. If your topic is interesting, the visitor will return to your site when they have more time from their busy schedule.

Write brightly and skip the technical terms. Use simple language or terms that everyone can understand. You have no idea who is viewing your site, which is why you need to keep the content as simple as possible.

As we find ourselves always on a hurry to create a Web site with great content, we forget to take care of some simple steps that are crucial to your site’s appearance. Always check the spelling and grammar. If you do not, your visitor will have a difficult time understanding what the purpose of the content is and certainly they will leave to another site. All word processor programs include a spelling check and proper grammar feature. Be sure to use the programs tools often when creating the written content or text.

Before launching your site take some time and have others read what you have written. When writing, you get so involved in your work that you overlook important issues as simplicity and precision and possibly there are words and sentences that are best omitted. After you complete your Web site give yourself some time to proofread your content and text. Put your work down for a day or so and return to proofread the text. One great practice is to read the text out loud. This process will help find errors that need to be corrected. It is very important to keep your site’s content and text from any possible errors, you do not want give your visitors the impression that you are careless with your work.

College Texting Services Keep Students and Faculty in the Loop

College and university texting (SMS) services are quickly becoming the gold standard of campus communications. While email is widely used to disseminate information and notices, it has been found that many college students rarely check their email these days and that the only reliable way to insure they get a message is by texting them. The vast majority of students have text capable mobile devices and cell phones and check their text messages dozens of times a day, almost instantly upon receipt.

Fortunately, colleges and universities do not have to invest in expensive hardware or equipment to implement a texting notification program. Fact is, the technological infrastructure is already in place and educational institutions can tap into it and begin their text programs immediately with very little or no ramp up time by outsourcing to a text service bureau. Because the text service is online, colleges only need to upload their list of opt-in phone numbers to begin texting messages at will.

Colleges are using texting for many applications and across divisions and departments. For example, SMS (short message services) texts are being used to:

— texting incoming students on application, registration and payment deadlines.
— recruiting students advising them of the latest college offerings
— alerting students about closing or delays because of weather conditions or power outages.
— instant updates on traffic and parking status for students and faculty and staff
— campus event notifications, club announcements, concert ticket sales
— notices about food service and daily menus
— campus emergency announcements and instructions
— text reminders about assignments, test dates and homework

Colleges are compiling mobile and cell phone databases by collecting cell numbers various ways, including capturing numbers via webpage sign ups, getting expressed permission on hard copy forms or sign up sheets, and/or promoting and advertising codes that the students or interested parties can text to a short code (a 5 or 6 digit number) which both automatically responds with a text message and enables them to double-opt-in to put their number on the list. Laws require that any contact you text must have opted-in to join your list. You cannot send out spam texts.

You can have any number of lists — from a general campus wide list with everyone’s number on it, or sub-lists for specific departments or divisions. For example, you may want a general list for a college wide message, a more specific list for athletics and an even more specific list for the baseball team.

Once you have your lists compiled (you’ll always be adding more numbers as you go along) you can upload them to the Internet and type your message online that will go out to one list, or all lists, whatever you prefer. Because your contacts will receive your messages quickly and conveniently, they can take whatever action is necessary to respond to your notification.

Overall, college texting services will be leading way in distributing important information to hundreds and thousands of students, faculty and staff who depend on getting timely updates that directly impact their work, studies and life.