Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not at Attention

Despite the caption, the student platoon is not "at attention," and neither are DeSoto Sun editors. Old Word Wolf gently suggests photo editors apply their education and read a picture's cutline, especially when it comes from that famous one-name photographer, Provided. Editors are paid -- yes, paid! -- to see that words and images are in synch. Standing at attention in a military drill isn't the same as looking left, crossing arms over the tummy, slouching with elbows dangling next to the hips, or standing with hands folded over the derrière.
Out of pity, OWW won't even bring up the issues of whether a news photograph should tell a story or be related to a story. When this one flew in over the transom, it saved the publisher from having to pay a real photographer to produce genuine photojournalism. Reader Generated Content.

Writers can also compose pictures with words, but mixing metaphors spoils the recipe, as in: "Area music group gives Christmas an Irish flavor."

To me, the Irish taste pretty much like chicken.

At the heart of the article, Laura Schmid skips the guideline that a sentence should showcase one idea. She stirs the description of a group member into a stew of half a dozen other items that includes a gratuitious opinion about teenage hairstyles and a chronology of past concerts.

The now-17-year-old -- a fast-talking, gregarious, tall youth sporting the longish hair currently popular with teenage boys -- now tours the United States with the Celtic music and dance group, Marcille Wallis & Friends, which paid its fourth visit to Arcadia Tuesday night for its annual concert.

What do these little details tell readers?

1. Accuracy isn't important. Lean, clean writing isn't important.

2. Shopworn and trite are good enough.

3. Hey, we're just filling up the hole around the ads.

4. The publisher doesn't mind, so why should readers?

And one last gem from the same edition:

Hmmm. If this head is the work of a paid desker, then maybe reader generated content isn't such a bad idea.

1 comment:

  1. Doesn't cost a dime to "get it right." All the writer has to do is look at the free picture.