Moving the furniture around is always a tricky business in newspapers
PUBLISHED: 13:28 31 October 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010
FEW of us think twice about moving furniture around a room, but doing the equivalent in a newspaper is always a more delicate process. When newspaper people talk about furniture, they are usually referring to those regular items which appear in the same p
FEW of us think twice about moving furniture around a room, but doing the equivalent in a newspaper is always a more delicate process.
When newspaper people talk about furniture, they are usually referring to those regular items which appear in the same place, issue after issue, so that regular readers aren't irritated by having to track them down with every new publication.
Crosswords and puzzles, editorial comment columns, readers' letters, BMDs (births, marriages and death announcements), horoscopes and weather forecasts: all fit into the category of newspaper furniture, where convention decrees a place for everything, and everything in its place.
Sometimes we get very touchy about this kind of thing. A seasoned sub editor who writes a seditiously entertaining column, The Grey Cardigan, for our leading trade magazine, Press Gazette, admits that his continuing disenchantment with the Daily Telegraph is ''probably fuelled by the fact that some red-socked twat at Victoria Plaza has been allowed to mess about with the Letters Page ... the comment piece has been expanded and moved while the spiritual home of Sir Herbert Gusset has been diminished and demoted.''
As you can see, moving the furniture around isn't a trifling matter and so I need to explain why our fabled archives column has moved to a new position in the newspaper.
For years one of our most valuable employees, Anne Rowe, has painstakingly scoured yellowing editions of the Ham&High to produce a weekly column of fascinating nuggets from the past. She's so good at doing this that often, the editorial equivalent of a butcher's cleaver has been employed to chop these priceless memoirs to a length that fits the allocated space.
And as the column appears on our letters pages, expanding the archives in their traditional position could only be done at the expense of our readers' views, which we greatly value and don't wish to limit.
The only solution was to move the archives to a place in the paper where more space could be guaranteed, and where better than Way Back When, our new nostalgia page?
And so from October 25 onwards you will find that Anne's archives have expanded into a new and improved space, more than doubling the previous allocation and with a new 10-year section added to the existing 100-year, 50-year and 25-year time slots.
By way of a trade-off, the letters' pages will now host, when necessary, a new corrections and clarifications section - though naturally I hope it won't be taking up too much space, too often!
Geoff Martin is editor of the Ham&High Series