Postmortem

Content Editor: proofreader, copy editor, creator of graphics, organiser of assets. The invisible support for the writing team.

The problem with working behind the scenes is that few people know who you are and fewer recognise the value of the work that you do. My initials only ever appeared on the web site on those occasions when times were busy and I pitched in and put a translation into the CMS. And that was fine — I have never sought the spotlight — but it does mean there was no opportunity to earn a professional reputation outside of the office.

And without reputation you at least need good references. But, while my immediate boss, the editor-in-chief, could write the most meaningful reference, I suspect that him also being my other half might limit its credibility. And that leaves the two directors, neither of whom is in a position to pass judgement on my ability.

Once again I have ended up employed in a role that, no matter how satisfying at the time, is of no real long-term benefit to me. This is not a new experience. Previous positions have included a miscellany of whatever-turns-up jobs from pre-pack worker to post office sorter, Cobol programmer in the early 90s, office admin for friends, and CRM specialist (though, to be fair, if I’d wanted to move to Birmingham I could have got a job with the company that created that CRM system).

The one useful thing I have learned is that I do actually enjoy smoothing the rough edges off a piece of writing.

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Almost unemployed

The H logoAt the end of June we had one of our irregular visits from management in Germany, but whereas previous visits have been brief and vague, this one was brief with a specific purpose: to deliver the news that The H would in all likelihood be shut down.

A week later it was confirmed and, after the formality of the two-week “consultancy” period, we were given one month’s notice. And, just over a week ago, we announced the closure on the site.

I can’t say that I’m surprised this has happened, in some ways I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. The advertising model simply can’t finance three or more people in an office and, as far as I can tell, other options weren’t considered.

It wasn’t our decision to close the site, in fact, we had no say in the matter and, given the option, we would have happily continued and even brought on more writers to expand the coverage, but, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how well the team producing the content performs — and we did a damn good job of putting out straight news and interesting features — if there isn’t a viable commercial foundation, it just can’t survive.

So, I’m technically employed until the end of the month, but apart from clearing a few bits and pieces from the office, there’s really been nothing to do. No more news items to proofread. No more articles to wrestle into the CMS. No more translations to turn into fluent English. No more graphics to create.

The H is no more.