About twenty years ago I was in a little Irish pub in the east end of Glasgow when the fear a ti-a fine fella from Dublin said to me:
“You’re story in the Irish Post last week. I didn’t like your headline!”
“Neither did I” I replied.
He was bemused by this response even more so when I added:
“It wasn’t my headline.”
Now totally flummoxed he started to cross examine me.
“It was your story wasn’t it? Your name was on it!”
“Yes of course it’s my piece John, but I’m not a sub editor.”
At this stage the fact that I was not the main man at U-Boat monthly probably seemed neither here nor down there.
My mate behind the bar just didn’t know what went into producing a newspaper.
The clue lay in the size of newspaper offices.
Big places that housed lots of people all working towards the one aim.
So, for the Record and just to be clear on things; journalists do not pick headlines, sub-editors do.
“Subs” don’t do lay out.
Major titles like the daily Record also have page editors; the entire paper is overseen just before the presses start to run by a night editor while the main guy is sleeping.
It’s an industrial process involving lots of people.
In my time I’ve been a sub-editor and a page editor. I only once questioned our lay-out guy and as a hack filing copy I never crossed a sub a second time. You know your place in a newspaper.
People, especially when working collectively, can get things badly wrong.
The Daily Record yesterday was wrong. The back page headline and the lay out was very badly wrong. The tone was wrong; actually everything about it was wrong.
As I write this people are getting up from their slumber in Glasgow and looking forward to attending the Rangers v Celtic match at Ibrox.
Some will already have been on the road for hours.
If they have time on their hands then they might want to read this piece:
That’s how it should be done. I realise that the Daily Record people are in the happy snappy tabloid world rather that the analytical world of the Guardian. However they should not be, however unwittingly, writing permission slips for those at Ibrox who hate Neil Lennon.
Neil Lennon IS hated by many who will comprise the home crowd at Ibrox today.
It isn’t “banter” or a “noise up” it is a visceral racism that generations of Irish Catholics have had to endure in Scotland since we Irish arrived in large numbers in the 19th century.
I largely agree with Kevin’s thesis that what we are witnessing is the outworking of a racism that is in its death throes. That having achieved occupational parity in 2001 Catholics of Irish descent in Scotland will no longer tolerate the Ibrox culture. The “Bears” don’t like this new dispensation one bit and in Neil Lennon they have in their deranged minds an uppity fenian from central casting.
I have met Neil Lennon in a professional capacity at press conferences on several occasions and he is courteous, intelligent, polite, honest and thoughtful.
In the dugout he is as he was on the field of play-a warrior.
Neil Lennon’s crime for many of the home crowd today isn’t that he’s the manager of Celtic it is that he is an Irish Catholic managing Celtic.
They do not KNOW Neil Lennon.
What they hate is what he symbolises.
The Croppy who won’t lie down.
Here is the embodiment that tells them deep in their racist hearts that the old days are over.
There are, sadly, some in the mainstream media in Scotland who also have to play catch up.
They should join with the rest of us in challenging these Victorian attitudes.
The Ibrox crowd is a manifestation of a belief system that should never have survived the 20th Century let alone still be around in 2011.
Habitat removal is the key to extinction. The pages of tabloid newspapers in Scotland must become unfailingly hostile to those who today will, undoubtedly, pour out their racist hatred for a young man from Lurgan.
You don’t need to know how a newspaper is put together to read something and know that it is just plain wrong.
I hope my old buddy from the Squirrel is doing well and on Hill 16 today at Croker. The all-Ireland final is one of the great sporting occasions in the world. It is a wonderful event with a genuine life affirming atmosphere. Funnily enough it doesn’t have Rangers supporters as part of the package. Those folks need house training and the Daily Record can become part of the solution. Yesterday they didn’t help the problem one little bit.
Must do better guys.