Wednesday, 12 November 2014

What do you call a bunch of Derby editors?

Editors of the Derby (Evening) Telegraph gathered at the paper’s Meadow Road office this week to mark a move to new premises. The paper has been in Meadow Road since 1980 and the editors' memories covering 34 years are definitely worth a read. One story that is missing, often recounted when old hacks get together for a beer or two, is told by ex-editor Mike Lowe. “My office backed on to the MDs. I knew that the then Bishop of Derby was coming to visit him so I waited until he’d gone out to reception to welcome his guest and then sneaked into his office and left an opened copy of Razzle on his coffee table. He was normally unflappable, but the shout of 'You bastard, Lowey’ could be heard at the other end of the building. The Bishop seemed a little nonplussed.” Ha ... the days when newspapers allowed a little high jinx without fear of the sack! 

The paper (not Razzle) also published this picture of seven of the men who edited the Telegraph during those 34 years. They are, from the left, Steve Hall (now Derby MD), Mike Wood, Mike Lowe, Mike Norton, Keith Perch, Neil White (current editor) and Neil Fowler.
The only two missing are the late Bob Randall and Alex Leys, who now lives in the far North of Scotland. The picture prompted me to ask Twitter what the collective noun for Derby Telegraph editors should be. The actual collective noun for editors is an erudition. A quick search on the internet, though, came up with some innovative ideas. Seven years ago Adam Tinworth asked a similar question on his blog. The answers included a decline (ouch). Someone at least had the courtesy to suggest it should be a managed decline. Others were a twaddle, a whinge and an opinion. The All Sorts website suggested a scowl, a correction and a lynch posse among many others.  
In response to my Tweet, Lowey suggested an arrogance (quite apt for those  who remember the Northcliffe football team) and current editor Neil White came up with an ego. Other editors joined in. Chris Lennon suggested a confusion, David Rowell came up with a bruising, Simon O’Neill (who was also at Derby) a snarl and Dominique Searle, editor of the Gibraltar Chronicle, came up with a barrel. Bev Thomas, editor of the Cambrian News was more gracious. 'I'd like to think that it's an eloquence of editors,' she wrote. Ex-editor Matt Cornish's perspective has changed over the years. 'As a cub reporter it would've been 'a beasting of editors,' he tweeted. 'Nowadays a 'prozac of editors'. The Mirror Style Guide didn't like the idea of more than one editor so suggested a dither. MailOnline journalist Paul Hutchinson thought a hyperbole was the most appropriate and Neil Gibson liked a pedant. The Evening Standard's Simon Neville said "I'm guessing there's a PowerPoint presentation with a synergy of editors in it. The Mirror's Greg Livsey suggested a bollocking of editors - although admitted that probably said more about him than the editors. The most heartfelt came from Australian editor Paul Wiggins who replied: 'A sigh of editors. Trust me on this.'
All of these are suitable for editors in general of course but this collective noun was meant to be specific to Derby. Last word to current editor Neil White: ‘On reflection, it should be a pride. Works on a few levels.’ I’ll buy that. Good luck to him and all the Derby staff on the move. 

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