I could discourse for hours on the subject of bylines, but life is short so I’ll take just 90 seconds.
One of my better articles wasn’t bylined. Why? Not enough space, so the least significant thing (from the sub-editor’s point of view) got deleted – namely, my name. I’ve included this article in my portfolio of published pieces but it’s anonymity looks awfully suspicious. It seems to scream out “I’m not authentic! I’m being used by an unscrupulous go-getter who’ll do anything to impress an editor to get a job!”
At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve cringed at seeing my byline on articles that were little more than re-writes of media releases. (“I know I’ve acted shamefully, Your Honour, but time constraints forced me to do it. I’d like to promise I’ll never do it again, but I can’t. It’s horrible, Your Honour, horrible. My god, the things we journos have to do.”)
And then there are those articles miraculously improved by sub-editing and which in all fairness should have the sub-editor’s byline but which a smiling Providence has seen fit to byline to me. It’s like winning the Nobel Prize for literature for a series of novels actually written by your uncle: “The writing’s quite brilliant even if I do say so myself and thanks again for the accolades.”