Saturday, December 12, 2009

Breaking News.......Literally

Funny how cubicle based information gathering for a story, coupled with just writing down the first words that come to mind and then publishing it as news without at least one other set of eyes looking at it, can be so telling and at the same time, not say much at all. I'd like to be able to say that hey, it's just an online story that will be corrected when they proof it, but all too often, that isn't the case, and these little filler stories make it into the print edition, verbatim, without the scrutiny of a second glance by one of forty editors.

The story in question, was posted last night. I do have to confess, that I am prone to be on the critical side of the reporting and writing at this particular publication, and on occasion, I will actually rewrite stories just to see how it looks my way.....maybe I am spoiled by being in a large market where print news has a more refined and dare I say, edited look. goes:

"A Chevy Camaro rear-ended a Ford truck on Moody and Water streets on Friday night. The wreck sent two people to a local hospital.

The driver of the Camaro failed to slow as he near a crossing and thus rear-ended the truck, which was stopped at a stoplight, according to preliminary reports offered by Officer Robert Dial".

First, it appears that the accident happened on two separate streets, rather than on a street near an intersection with another. Then there is the poor grammar and Shakespearish summary of what actually happened:

"The driver of the Camaro failed to slow as he near a crossing and thus rear-ended the truck, which was stopped at a stoplight"........
Thus rear ended the truck? (Hey, it could have been thus smacked into the truck).

If you are going to write it like that, you should at the very least continue in character with the next line......something like "Quoth the policeman". "Nevermore".

While I suppose I should be ashamed of myself, picking on a young reporter, navigating their way through a weekend night, in a rudderless ship, I think someone needs to point needed corrections out to them, ( editor) rather allow them to post such writing and have it make it to print. I see it as a reflection on both the writer and the "buck stops here" editor, to allow such mangled words into print.
Said editor has gone out of his way to show his online readers and those who would question him, that HE has the last word. You'd think that that same anal retentive quality would spill over into his paying day job too, and be reflected in the quality of the product that hits the streets.......wouldn't you?

I think that if anyone is dropping the ball here, it is the editor, allowing that kind of rube writing to make it into print, while at the same time doing a disservice to the young reporters by not correcting their work and teaching them the trade of writing. It appears, as I had been told a while back, that the editing is essentially if it fits print it. That stories are edited more for length than content...........


Truth Ferret said...

When I first saw the headline, I flashed to Stephen King's book/movie about the driverless car that mowed down people. Don't you just hate when cars have minds of their own and smack into other cars/people?

Edith Ann said...

I just hate it when they publish partial stories! How hard is it to ask a few questions?

I gotta know--was it an OLD Camaro, or one of the NEW hot ones???

Details, people, details!

Truth Ferret said...

Now today, the father of the pilot who was killed in the recent accident has commented on the thread that his son's name isn't even correct in the article. Geeze, can't the writers even copy names correctly? I know, I know, it is the advocate, what do I expect.

Try reading the article about the chemical plants, because the headline makes no sense at all. What the writer (I use that term lightly) did was take a line from the article and use it for the headline. Very elementary writing style throughout the whole article.

What about the self-serving article about how people don't give of themselves anymore. The poor writer spent her "allotted" time out asking questions and then proceeded to come to the conclusion that people are down-right selfish anymore.

Sugar expressed some great thoughts to the writer of the article. Maybe if the advocate staff got their collective heads out of the sand (or their arses) they would have a better understanding of what is going on in the crossroads.

Legion said...

The pilot of the plane thing.... after a expert commented I could not resist...


Patientearth and westsoldman,

Just exactly how much difference does this make in the grand scheme of things???

West Riley looks pretty accurate to me. Great job advocate!!!

Good grief people it's the internet. I'm sorry for your loss, but if you act like an A$$ and I'll treat you like one no matter the circumstances.


Durn N45BA,

Kind of a cold statement there don't you think?

Especially for some one with tail numbers for a moniker, happy flying to you too, hopefully one of your relatives won't have to correct your legal name if you have the same misfortune.

On the other subject, Sugar said exactly what had to be said...

SugarMagnolia (to Chris)

There is nothing I can say, even if I called you on the phone or invited you for a conversation over coffee, that will change your mind on this subject; i.e., how you view the newspaper and how I view the newspaper. Thank you for your comments, though, and the opportunity to express mine.

Enoguh said on both subjects.

Edith Ann said...


I agree, and the only one acting like an ass is N45BA. What a crude and rude statement to make to the father of the child in this accident. Thanks for your comment to him.

SugarMagnolia does a very good job of telling it like it is. Chris Cobler's answer to EVERYTHING is to invite you to call and chat. I must say, though, he will stay on the phone forever with you if you let him. So I guess, if you really feel strongly about something, go ahead and call. He loves to gab on the phone.

Sugar Magnolia said...

No, I have no reason to call Cobler and chat. Why should I? Just so he can give me one of his stock answers such as "I hope this answers your questions" when I posed not a single question in my original post to that blog. He is so far off base that ONCE AGAIN he failed to address the points I made in my comment, and he just talked around the subject as if we were too stupid to notice that his replies to nearly everyone are starting to sound exactly the same.

Edith Ann said...

It's the reading comprehension thing that Kenneth Schustereit whines about.

It's a stock answer for everyone. But that just makes him look stupid.

CG-23 Sailor said...

1) This was a vehicle accident story.

2) The reporters on that particular beat, Namely one Leslie Wilber. Are rude and nasty towards officers. the others are just inexperianced.

3) Because of Leslies rudeness, and the others which keep getting facts wrong, Officers will not give them the time of day and allow them to founder along.

That is why, in the past few months, nearly every vehicle and/or police response story, has very little factual information to them (bare bones).