Monday, March 31, 2008

Intern Abuse

Newspaper interns traditionally trade their cheap labor for the experience of learning journalism first hand. It's an opportunity to practice their new profession under the guidance of wise and seasoned editors who have a nose for news and can smell a nut graf a mile away.

At the Charlotte Sun, Gabriela Mares is being deprived of that opportunity, and she is paying the price. The publisher has assigned her to his advertorial beat – an unholy junction where advertising intersects the front page. Mares’ job this morning is to make a local builder’s advertisement look like news.

It took little time to fill 28 units, and with only 58 left, anyone interested in purchasing or leasing one of the Emerald Oaks custom built condominiums should hurry,” runs Mares’ breathless lead. The rest of her fake news story extols kitchen counters, a pool, club house, location – all the details one would expect to see arrayed in the sales literature.

Shame on the Dunn-Rankins and every editor in the building for whoring perverting this young professional's talents.

Over on the editorial page, the topic is schools’ growing interest in world languages and their move away from traditional Romance-based offerings. The writer apparently has a dictionary phobia because he concocts the neologism “Englo-phile” instead of relying on the well established Anglophile, and he neglects to capitalize Romance (meaning “Roman,” or Latin) because he thinks it’s related to lovey-dovey.

The orthographic errors are minor, however, compared to the writer’s lack of logic and coherence. After pontificating about the importance of breaking away from the usual offerings, his first recommendation is Spanish and his second is French. He lists Latin in his review of modern alternatives. Only as an awkward afterthought, it seems, does the writer work in mention of the truly newer offerings of Chinese and Arabic in local schools.

The editorial, while well intentioned, is clearly a rough-work draft that no one took time to edit or organize -- sloppy, careless work from start to finish that simply leaves readers wondering, what’s the point?

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