Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monumental error

I wouldn't have run that Saipan Tribune story on the proposed Marine Monument. Study: Marine monument will infuse $333M to NMI

What's so earth-shattering that you have to use a few spoon-fed excerpts instead of waiting a week? That's sloppy journalism at best. Maybe the Tribune is staking out an editorial position in its news, that wouldn't be new. The quote from Century Travel's Dave Sablan might give us a hint.

And the Marianas Variety? Since they've come out against it editorially, they've adopted John Gourley's tactic of branding it the Pew Memorial. Yeah, let's talk about the Pew family instead of the proposal. I suppose that's one reason not to give them the 'exclusive' sneak peek.

I expect the response, probably from Mr. Gourley, to be about the article and not its content.

Make no mistake, the opposition is not limited to “some local government officials and lawmakers”, as Business Editor Stefan Sebastian would have it. I've had more than one person tell me 'I'm against it' and change the subject. They probably think I'll take off on them being uninformed, or ignorant, when I'm just asking for their views.

It's time for the supporters to look at this as a marathon, not a sprint. Extending the metaphor, elbowing in the turns is counterproductive. If it happens, it will be a matter of years, not months, of convincing, not criticizing.

Oh, I've always liked the idea. I look forward to reading the study.

Yer headline too

'Infuse' should be used in a headline... well, never, probably (and you infuse 'with' or 'into', not 'to'). On the same page, the Tribune descends into the seedy world of text messaging with 'Unidentified dead woman found in '79 was Miura's missing GF'. GF? WTF? On page five (? {I'm looking at the online edition now}) they have MVB eying a sinking ship. Arrr, matey.

But their headlines are often unintentionally entertaining, though too often in the passive voice. As in, Federal officials to descend on NMI. Nice image, are they bringing torches?

I regularly restrain my outbursts, but I've been looking for an excuse to mention the story chirping that “Resident Representative Pete A. Tenorio is by far the only one to submit his letter of intent to run as GOP candidate...” And if you've got to run press releases (they do), at least read them so we don't end up with “The Garapan Fishing Base Complex—boat launching ramp and the pier facility—will be closed off to all users and the general public starting June 27 through July 7, 2008, for the annual Liberation Day Parade.”

There's lots, but those are my current favorites. The Variety generally does better, though I wonder who slept through “Majority of government offices in the CNMI are located in buildings built before or shortly after World War II." I'd link it but the Variety search engine can't seem to find Monday's article Feds revising building code for insular areas

5 comments:

Saipan Writer said...

Great points.

The National Marine Monument proposal is such a great idea, a great possibility. I think hard work, a massive education campaign, and continuous pressure would do more good than sensational headlines.

But I'm not in politics, so there's a very large chance I'm wrong. So thanks for the opinion from a seasoned journalist.

I sometime go on red-pen jaunts through the newspapers, wondering as I do so how much damage is being done to our readers by the poor grammar and clumsy wording of most articles. I passed right over GF! (hangs head in shame)

Lil' Hammerhead said...

But it feels so good to call "stupid" "stupid".

It's therapeutic. If they're not going to give me my marine monument.. at least give me that.

Anonymous said...

Well, the story doesn't say that negative reaction is limited to lawmakers and officials, just that lawmakers and officials have criticized it... now you're the one who is editorializing...
The Tribune also ran a long story last week about folks lambasting the Pew idea.. where was your critical eye then?
As for "sloppy journalism"... the paper got excerpts of the report, not a press release like you said.. Or didn't you actually read the article?

KAP said...

Hee

"spoon-fed excerpts" -- in part the first about the 'Pew idea'

"Yer headline too" -- part the second gaffing gaffes, including comments about a press release announcing a month-long parade.

Sloppy journalism = uncritically accepting excerpts. You're getting managed news/only what someone wants you to get

Or didn't you actually read my blog?

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

The economic report is on island. It is currently being printed. It will be given out on Tuesday.