Saturday, February 3, 2007

Blue pencil

My Journalism professor would be proud, my sixth-grade English teacher ecstatic. I tried to read the Saipan Tribune Friday morning, but all I could see were mistakes.

What does this headline tell you? Listen to Senate hearing on NMI immigration Not much, the information is there but it's weak. Come on, make me want to read the story.

What is the word specifically doing in the second paragraph? Is the Tribune paying by the word?

And The Commonwealth is sending a group of government and business leaders to testify in the hearing. That Commonwealth, always ordering people around.

Weak lead, muddled writing, indifferent grammar (a testimony?)-- C- Rewrite.

Taipei-NMI flights revived Really? Did they use CPR? How about restart, coming back, restored...

Marianas sisters share kidneys Not bad, except you could use the same headline for some nuns giving away free lunches. And why Marianas? It sounds out of place in the headline.

Two sisters, the daughters of long-time Tinian resident Don A. Farrell, do not merely share the same DNA-they now also share kidneys is a repetitiously redundant lead. Drop the first two words and you get the added benefit of losing the commas. 'Do not merely' is clunky and unnatural. How about not only?

That's just the first page. Before you say "so what", think about why people write: to communicate. If your thoughts aren't clear, or clearly presented, people will just move on to something else.

The layout was pretty good, by the way, in a USA Today sort of way and I always like the way they treat photos. It wouldn't do to be negative about everthing.

Out of fairness I looked through the Marianas Variety also, much later because I read it online. Maybe I had a few quibbles, but I didn't start grinding my teeth.

Their kidney headline was exactly the same. Ugh.

Senate passes bill to prohibit non-Palauans to drive tour boat, bus, taxi obviously doesn't work, maybe they should have tried 'from driving' or something like that.


Saipan Writer said...

I'm surprised that you have kept your keen appreciation for correct gramman and usage. I lost mine eons ago. Now I use vernacular just like everybody else.

Once upon a time, I tired of reading "overspeeding" in the Variety. To my horror, I found it in our huge Websters Third International Dictionary. Gave me pause. I don't know as much as I thought.

No big surprise.

KAP said...

I just found a bedraggled copy of American Usage that somehow survived many typhoons. I used to think it was The Boring Death, but I'm slowly reading it beginning to end and enjoying it.

I often break the rules myself, but kid myself that it's for a purpose and I know I'm doing it. Right.

The only side effect so far is that my punning weakness has reemerged.