The Financial Review is regarded by some as Australia’s version of the FT. Editor Glenn Burge obviously thinks its journalists have a way to go to match their UK counterpart.

We can’t think of a better way to boost morale and performance than pillorying your own staff in front of their colleagues.

This first edition, which has fallen into Crikeys hands, contains some homespun advice from Editor Glenn which seems pitched at about second year journalism school level, together with examples of apparent blunders by AFR staffers. Enjoy!


Welcome to the first edition of REV HEADS, the Fin’s newsletter on ways to improve the way we write. I would like you all to read it and keep it for reference.

It is intended for all editorial staff from the most senior reporter or production journalist, to the youngest trainee.

The newsletter is part of the Fairfax policy to improve the quality and increase the accuracy of our writing, and to correct any errors immediately we are aware of them.

To this end, the production journalist will increasingly be querying bad or ambiguous constructions in copy. It is therefore vital that reporters put their contact details at the top of stories.

It is a good idea, when you are reading a story before you file it, to step back and try to see it as readers would.

Winsome Byrne and Bernard OShea, who are preparing the fortnightly newsletters, welcome your suggestions and comtributions.

Glenn Burge


SEEING IS AGGRIEVING: The verb to see is used far too often nowadays. Instead of saying something saw something happen, say what happened. For example, In 2001, the company saw its profits plunge 50 per cent should be In 2001, the companys profits plunged 50 per cent.


Fewer Australians plan to fly on the first anniversary of next weeks terrorist atacks.


Queenslands tourism industry has boomed since the terrorist attacks and the collapse of Ansett, with one analyst claiming it may have picked up market share because of the twin calamities last September.

Ed: not sure what the death toll was for Ansett.

POSITION, POSITION: When you are quoting or introducing someone in copy, you should give their title first, followed by their name (the Prime Minister, John Howard, NOT John Howard, the Prime Minister). This is because the authority or expertise they have, which makes them of interest to our readers, is vested primarily in the positions they hold rather than their names or personae. If you are quoting a nobody that few people have heard of, by putting their titles first they immediately become a somebody of importance.


This intro sarted life this way: With walking problems brought on by his large stature and club feet, it is still two steps forward and one step back for the father of Australian landscape, John Glover.

And ended up reading much better this way: Theres been good news and bad news recently for the legacy of the father of Australian landscape painting, John Glover.


Boardroom bane quietly folds his tent (John Jones) (13/9/2002)

Merchant buffs up Billabong (Garrett Jones) (13/9/2002)

Great idea, but a pity about the messing around (Bruce Walkley) (13/9/2002)

Please send your contributions to [email protected]

(with a CC to [email protected])