Thursday, November 29, 2007

No Kudos for Captain Crunch

Instead of writing a real lead, the business editor tries to wring a bit of levity from the word “kudos” in a misguided effort to set up his column this morning. The result is his readers are treated to a writer’s warm-up exercise instead of journalism.

“There’s a whole bunch of congratulations and kudos to pass out in today’s “Biz Bits.” But before we get on with this – is "kudos” singular or plural? And how did such an obscure word come to get slung around by so many people who barely know what it means? That’s the problem with English – too many words.

The journalist-editor’s job isn’t to toss rhetorical softballs to the ignorant masses. And when his own ignorance, whether feigned or real, is easily remedied by reaching over to the top left corner of the desk and opening the dictionary, laziness becomes the only explanation. This opening doesn’t inform; it insults. It doesn’t draw readers in; it shuts them out. Charlotte Sun readers, the editor asserts, are people who barely know what “kudos” means.

Even worse, the rhetorical antics infected a headline writer over at the page-designer's playpen and no grownups were around to stop the high jinks.

Old Word Wolf has a well-developed sense of humor, really she does. But when it comes to business journalism, she tends to get cranky when she spots lazy writing and sloppy thinking where a column lead should be.

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