Saturday, February 23, 2008

Writer's Purgatory

Local writer Jon Sica, who hasn't yet met a cliché he couldn't work into his next story, keeps all who follow the local comprehensive land plan apprised of its status. Factually stated, the plan is on the desk of a review committee within the Florida Department of Community Affairs up in Tallahassee. It's being examined for compliance with state growth-management regulations.

But Sica has a better description -- and it's such a good cliche he can't stop using it. As of Feb. 1, the plan was in "bureaucratic limbo." The next day, Sica upgraded it to "bureaucratic purgatory," where it it has remained ever since: Feb. 13 status: still in "bureaucratic purgatory;" Feb. 17 status: "bureaucratic purgatory;" Feb. 22 status: "bureaucratic purgatory."

If Sica did little Googling he'd find the phrase on more than 6,000 pages found by that one search engine alone. It's not original; it's not informative after (perhaps) the first use. And, by the fifth trot around the track, the writer is simply telling readers he's too lazy to actually write this story.

Web Hed Gem O' the Day:

Officer Tasers pit bull answering knife-throwing call

Some dog.

OWW doesn't usually do typos; it's hard putting out a newspaper every day and no one's perfect. But this one is in the banner, in red, and no one noticed it right over the brag.

And finally, we saved the best worst for last.
Business editor Bob Fliss has been hanging around Tallahassee and sending local news home. Problem is, he didn't hear about the reporter's rule that the writer is not the news, should stay in the background, and never, never comments on the daily events in the course of basic reporting. But, Bob's got a different style.

The story on Friday was a lawmaking committee is weighing a bill that would punish drivers who read, type or send messages on a "wireless communication device" while operating a vehicle. Fliss wraps up the newsy tidbit thus: "From personal experience, I know that even trying to read newspaper headlines during a red light doesn't work. Trying to do so while actually driving is madness. Holder's bill may be a small step toward getting folks to calm down and pay attention to their driving."

Fliss should calm down and pay attention to the basics of journalism. Save personal anecdotes for a blog and leave them out of the news columns.

No comments:

Post a Comment