Wednesday, 1 April 2009

In days of Nick

Layoffs, firings, buyouts and retirements have pretty well cleared the Toronto Sun newsroom of veteran editors blessed with the magic of packaging a daily tabloid.

The Pyettes, Brewsters, Monteiths, Kemps, Ibschers, Fourniers, Grants, Hemings, Macklins, JDMs, McGees, Fryers, Paynters, Woodcocks, Burke-Gaffneys, Leinalas etc.

The old gang that cared is gone - and it shows.

John Fracassi is one of the old gang and in a comment posted on TSF today, he recalls another old pro, the late Nick Ibscher.

"I learned of Nick's death belatedly on this site," John writes. "We were colleagues on the Sun desk, but long before that we were students together at Rye High back in the 70s.

"That's when I got my first taste of Nick's unique nature."

John writes at length about the much-admired Nick Ibscher and his editing skills and it made us pine for the newsroom when it was brimming with staff and tabloid talent.

He says:

"At the Sun, Nick was the semi-official keeper of the infamous "sonofaswish" files kept hidden deep in the bowels of the paper's computer system - drawn out to see the light only on those occasions when a copy editor had a contribution to make to the file, or on one of those slow days when reading it would raise some guffaws.

"I never thought to ask Nick if he originated it, but 'sonofaswish' was a compilation of bad leads, bad spelling, and a variety of other 'raw' copy before touched by copy editors.

"Nick pointed out it wasn't intended to make fun of the authors - just a testament to the good work copy editors do in catching and fixings the writing gone awry.

"But that's not to say 'sonofaswish' did not contain examples of some of the 'fixes' copy editors made to copy and which Nick himself added to the list - another testament to his meticulous style."

Suffice to say "Englington" and "Foools" would never have made it to print on the front page with Nick and the old crew on guard.

Thanks for the posting, John. Let us know what you have been doing since leaving the Sun.

1 comment:

  1. The file containing all the hilarious bad copy was called 'swish' and when management decreed that copy editors had to remove it from the system (too many sensitive reporters were upset with it; they thought they were being made fun of), it went underground and was reborn sonofaswish.
    Not really sure why the original was called swish other than to surmise that that is the term used when a basketball goes through the basket touching nothing but net. Poor copy would work its way through the system in a similar manner. I guess.