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Byline Blues

When I was a young newspaper reporter to have your name printed at the top of an article, a byline, was the mark of a job unusually well done. Later unbylined stories became scarce as the world entered its "everyone gets a sweetie" phase. But in the days I'm referring to bylines were still something in which to take some pride. However, sometimes for reasons of space there was no room for the byline. Applications for the next job on the slippery pole were often helped along by samples of previous articles in the cuttings book. There was reporter on the Evening Chronicle who swooped on unbylined but strong stories and passed them off as his own work to potential employers. A variation of this involved the various Young Journalist of the Year Awards. It was a real feather in a newspaper's cap if one of their reporters won one of these. So sometimes a senior editor came up with an idea which was then assigned to a young reporter. This reporter was then "guided" through the information gathering process by a more experienced journalist and the article re-written by the best sub-editor on the paper. Basically, the young journalist's contribution was use of his or her name.


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