Copy! Bring me the file on laughable newsroom mix-ups.

A threetoed sloth

A threetoed sloth

I once worked with a copy boy who was so slow he was nicknamed Threetoed by a savvy sub.

Then there was another copy boy who was the product of a private school and who went on to distinguish himself as a respected TV news professional.

So this is no slight on the copy boy (and girl) fraternity – just a good laugh at some of the alleged shenanigans in news rooms. Especially since most of them don’t seem to be much fun any more.

After posting about the copy boy who confused Brazilian playboy motor racer Ayrton Senna with Ayr Town Centre, I got a call from a normally reliable tabloid source.

He assured me had spoken to someone, who’d spoken to someone who was actually there when the Ayrton/Ayr Town mix up happened. They swore blind it was true.

What’s more the reliable source’s reliable source had another couple of examples up their sleeve of hilarious copy boy buffoonery.

Firstly – There was the case of the copy boy sent to the picture library to pull the Pearl Harbour file. He was found half an hour later still searching in vain through the Models (Female) section, convinced Pearl Harbour was some skinny catwalk queen.

Secondly – Then there was the hapless copy boy sent to pull the library files on Shakespears Sister (popular female pop double act). He reappeared 20 minutes later convinced he was the victim of some humiliating prankd and raged: “Ye’s aw think am stupit? Shakespeare didnae huv a sister!”

Any more, for any more?

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7 thoughts on “Copy! Bring me the file on laughable newsroom mix-ups.

  1. I’m reminded of the rookie reporter who wrote that Chernobyl was the worst nuclear disaster of the 20th Century which lead to the subs wondering what the worst ones of the 18th and 19th centuries had been.

  2. Lets hope your team produce copy faster than you or you’ll all be going hungry. Bored with blogging? Easy done.

  3. I realise that this is a long time after the original post, but I can verify that the Ayrton Senna/Ayr Town Centre fiasco did actually occur. I was working as a copy boy at the Glasgow Evening Times in 1989/90 when one of my colleagues made the mistake. I saw it mentioned in a newspaper column a couple of years ago and had the strange experience of reading about an event that was a personal memory being written about as an amusing piece of apocrypha. The copy boy at the centre of the incident was a very articulate individual, but had very little knowledge of sport – this brought him into conflict with the Sports Desk on a number of occasions, a fact that made the Senna incident all the more amusing. In fact, he has, unlike myself, carved out a very successful career in journalism both north and south of the border in the intervening 20 years.

    • Doug,
      Brilliant comment – and thanks so much for confirming it really did happen.
      Don’t suppose you’re planning to name names on the now successful journalist whose wee slip has achieved urban myth status? 🙂

      • Recently, my very occasional indulgence in googling my own name led me back to your site. I noticed that you had left a reply to my comment, for which I am very grateful. I thought I was going to be caught in a moral dilemma – to reveal the name of the infamous copy boy or to maintain his anonymity. However, a little more googling revealed that he had in fact “outed” himself in The Scotsman in August of last year.
        Try googling -“How to get the results that matter from university of life”. Mystery solved.

      • Thank you very much for solving that mystery – I’m very grateful indeed.
        Stephen McGinty, eh?
        Fine writer that he is, if I was him I’d still be tempted to put the Ayr Town Centre / Ayrton Senna mix up at the top of my CV.
        Few things go down as genuine classics. That is one.
        One more thing … anything else interesting come up when you Googled yersel?

  4. I found out, as I always do, that I am really not that interesting and that a namesake of mine had been in a spot of bother over his alleged activities whilst out shopping. In the end, I’m quite relieved that I’m the less interesting one.

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