The entry has been changed, but for a while there on Tuesday my story on The Times website was bylined Adam Crilly. Presumably an editing slip confused my name with that of the British High Commissioner, Adam Wood. It’s not the first time the subs have messed up my byline. For some reason when I appear on The Times home news pages I always end up as Robert Crilly – not Rob – and The Daily Mail had me as Rob Krilly back during the Gillian Gibbons whirlwind. But my favourite was my first paper, The Chester Chronicle, which called me Rib Crilly. (A very meaty article, as one wag put it)
I generally find it best not to bring up these sorts of errors with sub-editors. They are a sensitive breed, to be handled with caution… as the following episode illustrates.
A family friend was starting out in the newspaper business back in the 1960s, I think. His first splash (ahem) for The Daily Record was a story about a trawler sinking in the North Sea. He’d been out in a plane with a snapper, battered out his copy as quickly as he could and then waited eagerly for the first edition to appear in the Glasgow pubs at around 10pm. So you can imagine Jim Laurie’s bitter disappointment when his maiden appearance on the front page was bylined John Laurie.
He dashed to the nearest phonebox and called up the paper’s chief sub to set the matter straight.
Jim: Ah hi, it’s Jim Laurie, the new reporter, the one with the story about the trawler…
Chief Sub: Aye.
Jim: Well, you see you’ve got my name wrong. It should be Jim not John.
Chief Sub: Aye. Well we’ll get that fixed for the next edition, don’t worry.
It duly appeared an hour or so later- with the byline removed entirely.