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21 October 2011

Reading the News Online

Journalists have been persecuted for telling, withholding, misrepresenting or even making fun of the news (also called "the truth", or optimistically, "the facts" for a given value of truth or facts.)  Journalists know that derision and incredulity comes with the territory.  It cannot be easy to be so religiously disliked.   What I mean is that everyone reads or listens to the news regardless of how unpleasant the event is or how badly it is presented.  After all, people usually avoid unpleasant situations or unpleasant persons; with the exception of those strange dudes that chase tornadoes or anyone addressed as "mama" on a regular basis.  But, I am regressing.

Journalism seems to be getting even lower in quality.  So far, my complaint is not news, if you'll pardon the joke.  Recently, lower quality includes reports on news websites so badly written that non-sequiturs, incomplete sentences or even the completely wrong words, obviously placed there by eager software, are often seen on respected websites like BBC news or even Reuters.  In their rush to post a story first, they fail to even proof read.

Now, "first with the story" is becoming a very relative term.  After all, events like the Arab uprisings were posted on youtube, facebook and twitter way before journalists picked up the story.  "First" loses value when it has to be amended to, "well, faster than Sky and CNN anyway."  My suggestion is that journalists stop distracting me from the journalism with bad writing.  "Best with the news" could catch on.

TV journalists (presenters) are notoriously incorrect when it comes to basics like grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation.  Sometimes looks take precedence over a degree in journalism.  Journalists who report in writing though, write for a living.  There is no excuse.  I find it careless. If he or she is careless with simple sentence structure how careless is he or she with content?

Obviously, I am not literary perfection, but I don't have to be.  In any case, I hope to improve with practice and care.  Perhaps better lighting and a new lap top would help too (hint, hint to my beloved proof reader.)  This bad writing on news websites cannot be blamed on Murdoch, censorship, or a mean Spanish teacher.  If you do not care when you report, it shows. After all your name is attached to the article.

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