Category Archives: journalism

The importance of Proofreading

I’ve recently found myself editing papers and looking at heaps of copy. Which has reminded me of the importance of writing. Which then lead me to re-read (for a countless time) Zinnser’s On Writing Well. If you don’t have a copy, you should. Regardless of what you do. Get a copy on Amazon.

Recently, two stories have caught my attention that remind of the importance of proofreading. And that spell-check, while nice and convenient, is not the be-all end all.

First:


$2 Billion bail

The story itself is not a cheery one. But the headline printed in the local Eugene Register Guard But the headline borders on shockingly absurd and reminds us of the need for good proofreading. And it reminds us that spell-check has become a taken-for-granted crutch that apparently doesn’t always work well.

Second:

Man Charged with Threatening to Bomb State Office Sign over Typo

This story is exceptional. It gets even better and goes beyond the sign with this:

The man also complained that the instructions he downloaded to make his pressure cooker device contained misspellings, Chamberlain said.

Just proof that it’s always a good idea to proofread before submitting/sending/printing/distributing. You never know who might be reading.

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Happy Worldwide Pinhole Day! (and happy Easter!)

Today is Worldwide Pinhole Day! Check out a pretty interesting write-up courtesy of the BBC here. And here’s the link to the Worldwide Pinhole Day’s website.

Oh – and Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who are also celebrating. I’m going to go shoot off a few rolls of pinhole film while I make some matzo brittle before some (kosher for passover) Easter dinner.To quote the prophet Will.i.am: “L’chaim!”

[CC licensed image via Matt Calow]

Sometimes headlines can actually be clever?

I’m not going to lie… I’m not a huge fan of The Oregonian. between some of their political viewpoints, public policy stances, and honestly mediocre writing, I barely glance at anymore. But that’s no reason not to point out the brilliance of this headline:

and the photo ain’t bad, either. In the doldrums of the winter-spring-greyness season, a bit of humor is difficult to muster up, let alone slap across the front page of the paper. I’m digging it.

Probably Bad News: probably awesome

While a regular fan Failblog, I’ve somehow overlooked it’s sibling, Probably Bad News, until now. It’s quickly become one of my regular sites to check.  Plus it quickly washes away any regrets I had at not going into news journalism.

MCA, Cancer, The Beastie Boys, and how social media is changing the news

Yesterday, The Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch and Adam Horovitz  (more commonly known MCA and Ad Rock) put up a YouTube video as a splash page to the Beastie Boys homepage basically announcing that MCA has cancer of the parotid gland and a lymph node and they would be postponing tour dates and their much-anticipated upcoming new album release.

Fortunately, they didn’t seem all that concerned, so hopefully all will work out well. It’s interesting to see YouTube replacing the traditional press release. The Beastie Boys release their message via YouTube, and the news outlets, including giants like the New York Times, are writing articles entirely based from the video. (NTY article) It’s a unique format in that it offers both information (assuming the creator provides it), and quotes that one can’t extract from a traditional press release. The reporters can comment on mood, atmosphere, setting, and tone, all of which don’t exist in a normal press release. Interesting to see, and certainly speaks volumes for the validity of (at least some) social media outlets.

And as expected, as soon as the news broke, MCA’s Wiki Page was ammended like clockwork.

On a side note I’m amused by the NTY article referring to the guys as Mr. Yauch and Mr. Horovitz. makes me chuckle a bit.

And in other Beastie Boys news, there’s a recently released closer-to-finished version of “Too Many Rappers” featuring Nas. You can check it out here.

illcommunicationAnd one other Beastie Boys tidbit: Fifteen years have now passed since Spike Jonze directed the video for “Sabatoge” and the Beastie Boys have released a remastered version of Ill Communication, complete with a bonus disc of extra tracks. Definitely worth picking up.

Headline of the week and a monkey in a diaper

Every now and then, there’s just one of this headlines… this morning was one of those days:

police_seek_monkeyI feel bad for the police… and for the monkey. I also particularly enjoy some of the writing of the AP story…like

Salem Police Sgt. John Hardy says he is confident the man and his monkey, who was wearing a diaper, will be found.

And just to be clear, I also feel bad for the girl who was bitten by the monkey, and realize it’s a serious matter. but police looking for a monkey in a diaper just seems so Oregon. Fitting that it’s in the state capitol.

story (and screen cap) via kgw.com.

If only I knew when I was younger: Fully-loaded news vans hit the drag strip

As those who know me well might remember, I was torn between print/broadcast journalism and the graphic design/advertising side of things back in school. Had I seen this video, or known of the possibilities that news journalism could have offered me, the decision may not have been made in the same direction.

A day after a highway drag racing crash, two El Paso,  TX news stations were at a legal drag strip filming when onlookers somehow convinced both news teams to drag race (I know it wouldn’t take me much convincing if I was in their spot). KDBC and KVIA put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and ended up not only making it big on youtube, but also with a few firings, some disciplinary action, and a suspension or two. One of the AP newswire stories is available here.

It all feels very Anchorman-meets-Top Gear-meets-Dukes of Hazard. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.