Tag Archives: editing

The end of quality journalism?

14 Nov

I grew up in a mediacentric household. My dad is a veteran journo and at the time was also a radio broadcaster, so our evenings were spent discussing the day’s news and critiquing its coverage. It might sound like a yawn-fest, but I loved listening to my parents dissecting the headlines and laughing at lame puns and cringeworthy clichés. It was like a live Media Watch in our living room.

Since then, I’ve smirked, frowned and rolled my eyes at hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of news stories. Working in online media, I am constantly scrolling through the news sites for potential stories and to keep my finger on the pulse of current affairs. So when I come across a truly heinous piece of ‘journalism’, I can’t help but share it!

Sad story, terrible subbing

Today’s Crap Journalism Award goes to a story published on news.com.au – Young lives lost in weekend of horror road carnage.

The subject matter is sad and shocking and I don’t wish to dismiss it for the sake of a blog post. However, given the subject is so horrific and has no doubt affected so many people (particularly the victims’ loved ones), you would hope the journalist (and sub-editor) would take the time to ensure it reads correctly.

Let’s take a look at the story’s glaring errors:

The twins were just two of more than a dozen Australians who lost their lives during a horror weekend on Australian rods. 

Tragically, they were killed on Australian roads, not rods.

Paramedic Paul Dodd said urged drivers to think about the worrying road toll.

He said urged? That’s a new one.

”It’s been a dreadful weekend on the roads with a high number of people killed” he said.

Where’s the comma before the final quotation mark?

Twin’s death leaves a huge hole

Sadly, both twins were killed in the accident. It should read ‘Twins’ death’, with the apostrophe after the ‘s’.

Caroline and Olivia, Tim Cooper, Sean Doran, Rebecca McKenzie, , all aged between 19 and 20.

One comma will suffice.

A woman who was due to marry her fiancé in just 10 days has watched him be hit and killed an another of this weekend’s crashes.

This should be ‘in’, not ‘an’.

He said the fact that 15 people had died in 11 crashes this month “was a disgrace”.

Full stop should be inside the final quotation marks.

The end of quality journalism?

Is this article an example of lazy writing at its worst? Or is it part of a wider decline as newsrooms around the world face cost-cutting and have to resort to hiring uni graduates and even students to write and sub copy?

Many Sydneysiders would say the article is ‘typical of News Limited’ and comment that you only need to open the Daily Telegraph to play a lengthy game of ‘spot the typo’. But why should we have to put up with sloppy subbing and crappy journalism in a major metro paper produced by one of the world’s largest media corporations?

It’s unlikely that News Limited’s standards are going to improve any time soon. Especially given that pesky little phone hacking scandal that just won’t go away!

In the meantime, it makes great dinner table fodder for families that, like mine, enjoy hosting their own version of Media Watch.

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