Imagens das páginas

the correspondent to be called upon to decide | the editorial, however, is by no means to be whether such and such an item of intelligence, understood the leader-writing department: as it transpired, was or was not worth the we speak of the actual working visible ediexpense of a special courier or a flight of tors. In respect to the leader-writing corps, pigeons to London. Now-a-days, of course, the strictest secrecy is, as we have said, prethe couriers are being superseded by the served. If its members ever come to the ofrailways, and the use of pigeons, over one fice, they do not come officially; and though part of the journey at all events, by the elec- their business may be guessed at, it is never tric telegraph. Nor will the most casual avowed. The actual acknowledged editoristudent of the daily newspapers fail to per- al body generally consists of a sub-editor and ceive how much more copious is the letter of his assistant, a foreign editor; sometimes, the Paris correspondent than it used to be. but not always, a business editor, as we may Of the many in France who curse the late call him, whose functions are half literary, revolution, none have more cause to do so half commercial; and an editor-in-chief, who than "our own correspondent.” The “war” represents the proprietors, and keeps a reporters form quite a new class, which has watchful eye over all the departments, and of course risen with the exigences of the whose executive power is despotic. The times. More than one of the gentlemen, money-article writer has an establishment of however, who are now enlightening the Eng- his own in the city, and generally sends the lish public upon the chances and changes of result of his labors every evening. the Italian and Hungarian wars, have seen Let us begin with the two sub-editors. hot work in the Carlist campaigns in Spain, They are at their posts by eight or nine and have had a few tolerably narrow escapes o'clock P. M., and the labors of one of them at from being shot or hung as spies. Indeed, least do not cease until four o'clock next mornnot later than last summer, a friend of ours, ing. To their care is confided the mass of who was in the thick of the first Schleswig- penny-a-line matter, from which they select Holstein dispute, found himself placed, by what is considered as of interest or importhe arrest of a courier whom he had dispatch- tance—often abridging or grammatizing it, as ed, in an extremely awkward situation, from the case may require. They have frequentwhich he only escaped by a most liberal ex- ly to attend to the literary and political corpenditure of horse flesh, and by ultimately respondence of the paper, picking out from seizing the open boat of a fisherman, in which the mass of “Constant Readers” and “Reghe crossed the Little Belt, and at last con- ular Subscribers” those lucubrations which trived to conceal himself in Copenhagen. It seem worthy of the notice of the editor-inis quite evident, then, that the situation of a chief. To them is also confided the task of correspondent at the seat of war is by no looking over the multitudes of provincial pameans suited to those gentlemen of England pers which every day arrive, and extracting who love safety and ease. Adequately to from them all the paragraphs which may apperform the duties of the post, a man must pear to deserve the honor. The principal be a thorough linguist, even to the extent of sub-editor is also in continued and close corunderstanding the patois of the district in respondence with the printer's room, from which he is placed. He must possess, more- which he receives regular bulletins of the over, a good and plausible address, be a man amount of matter “set up,” and of the space of enterprise and resource, one who can cook which remains to be filled. In many of the his own dinner, and make a comfortable London papers, the rule is, that every

line bivouac on the lee side of a tree. Above all, which is printed must go through the hands he must have the pen of a ready writer, and of the sub-editor. He is thus enabled to have enough of nerve, without needlessly or preserve a general idea of the hourly prorecklessly exposing himself to danger, to gress of the newspaper toward completion. make

up his dispatches coolly and collected- Another part of the sub's duty is a general ly, even should a stray shot occasionally supervision of the reporter's room. In case make its appearance in his vicinity. Good of any failure in this part of the duty, occafolks who do not like sleeping out of their sioned perhaps by sudden illness, he puts own beds, who wink at the crack of a pistol, himself in correspondence with another paand who catch colds in thorough drafts, had per, so as to obtain the means of supplying better not undertake to write a contemporary the gap. He grants interviews to the less history of a war.

important class of business visitors; makes We have now come to the editorial de- the minor arrangements for having public partment of the London daily journal. By meetings, dinners, and so forth, reported ;



[Dec. has an eye, in fact, to every department save ceive and register the advertisements. At that of the “leaders ;” and passes a life of four o'clock or so, a couple of the editors constant hurry and responsibility, the major arrive; the letters which may have been repart of his duties consisting of a hundred lit-ceived are opened and run over; arrangetle odd jobs, trifling in themselves, but upon ments for á leaders” for next day are his indefatigable and energetic attention to probably made and communicated to the wriwhich the character of a newspaper greatly ters thereof; and such communications from depends.

regular or casual correspondents as may be The duties of the foreign editor will be ob- selected from the mass are sent up to the vious from his title. He performs for for printer's room, in readiness for the composieign intelligence what the sub-editor does tors when they arrive. By seven o'clock for home news. He receives and arranges P. M. the work is beginning in earnest. Three foreign expresses, summarizes the intelligence or four parliamentary reporters have already contained in them, and has frequently a great set to at their desks, and the porters are laydeal of hard translating work upon his shoul- ing huge masses of “flimsy" and packets ders. Of course the foreign editor must be from the country upon the sub-editors' tables an accomplished linguist.

Meanwhile the compositors above have also We have reserved the editor-in-chief until commenced operations. By ten o'clock the the last. His is a situation of great power, work is in full swing. Perhaps a dozen coland consequently of great responsibility. To umns of parliamentary debate have been him all matters of doubt arising in the infe- written ; the sub-editors are actively engarior departments are referred. The sub-edi-ged in prepariug for the printer the occasiontor is his aid-de-camp, who brings him infor- al and penny-a-line intelligence, and two or mation of what every body is doing, and how three writers in different parts of London every body is doing it. Printed slips of are deep in “ leaders.” Hardly a train now everything reckoned important in the paper arrives in town which does not convey packare from time to time laid before him. He ets of country news and country newspapers makes all the arrangements of magnitude, wet from the press, to the great centre of inrespecting the engagement of correspond telligence. “Express parcels” from abroad ents, reporters, &c., and gives audiences to drop in, and are submitted to the foreign edthose whose business is of great importance, itor. All the office is one blaze of light and or who, from their situation in public or pri- activity. By midnight the great mass of invate life, cannot well be handed over to a telligence has arrived. The porters carry subordinate. The peculiar department of the away from the sub-editorial rooms basketfuls editor-in-chief is, however, that of the leading of rejected contributions ; the master-printarticles. He may either write himself or not. er reports as to the length of “matter” in In general, an editor has plenty to do without his hands; the editor-in-chief communicates the composition of brilliant or profound po- with the sub, and finds that everything is litical essays. But he probably suggests working smoothly. The reporters are still subjects to his writers, bints at the tone to be at it might and main. Perhaps the House of adopted, carefully revises the leaders when Commons does not rise until two o'clock, so written, and generally takes care to commu- every quarter of an hour sets a fresh hand nicate to the whole executive the peculiar to work, As three o'clock approaches, the views as to business or politics entertained by master-printer gets nervous, and begins to the unseen proprietary body whom he rep- think of the early trains ; the gentlemen of resents. The editor-in-chief usually transacis the gallery are directed to cut down at all business in the office in the course of the af- hazards, and close up their reports: the last ternoon. He makes his appearance again selection is made fof the “matter” which about ten o'clock or eleven o'clock P. m., and must be flung over either until next day, or frequently remains until the paper is actually entirely, Shortly after three the outside half published, about five o'clock in the morning of the sheet is at press, for the machine-men

We have now set before our readers a tol- have been getting up the steam on the enerably full account of the constituent parts of gine for the last couple of hours: the last the machinery of a London newspaper. It touches are hurriedly given to the leaders" only remains that we briefly dash off a sketch and the “latest intelligence ;” and by half of the machine as it appears in its usual rap- after five o'clock, fast express carts are flyid motion. Nearly all day long the estab- ing with the reeking sheets to the terminus lishment is almost deserted; only the clerks of every railway to be scattered over Britain in the counting-house ply their tasks, and re- as fast as panting steam can earry them!

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »