Thursday, June 12, 2008

Please Disable His Send Key

Telling half the news
Here’s today’s leading business brief: “Linda Visser has been working at Edward Jones at 501 S. Indiana Ave. for more than six years. Financial Planner Ted Kern was pretty proud of that. He was also very proud that Edward Jones was ranked “highest in investor satisfaction for three years in a row.”

First sentence: So Visser has been working at the office more than six years. Would that be seven years, 12 years, 20? Second sentence: Why, pray tell, does such longevity make Kern proud? Is six years some sort of record on Indiana Avenue? Third sentence: Who ranked the firm? Did the ranker measure local, state, national or global satisfaction? Share how the data was collected(can employees' moms vote?). Do the quote marks mean someone said this? If so, who? And let’s talk about that headline: What in the item justifies saying readers should visit Visser for financial planning? For all the "reporter" reports, she could be the cleaning lady.

Country Hound Café has “really gotten involved ...,” a realtor says the “European market is really going strong ...,” an upholsterer reports “business on Boca Grande has really been good ...,” and a karaoke bar manager says “events are really working out well.” All in the space of ten inches. Really.

The columnist also reports one of his friends says real estate closings and inquiries “are definitely on an upswing spike.”

Why aren't copy editors reading this guy’s work? He’s not a reporter and clearly is not being coached. His day job is general manager of the Englewood office, where he probably has the keys to the thermostat box. But evidently he also has access to a keyboard with a “send” key.

More copy desk observations:
All Sun editions this morning ran as page 7's top national brief: "Mom finds snake in crib." The snake was a 12-inch, non-venomous, common king snake that was safey removed and turned over to animal officials in Brentwood, N.Y.

What Sun readers didn't learn is a tornado wiped out a Boy Scout camp in Iowa, killing several of them; and while "Florida tomatoes" have been cleared in a multi-state salmonella outbreak, growers in two counties (Collier and Dade) have not been cleared. Either story would have been of more interest to local readers than the copy desk kid's choice.

As for the second national brief, the headline the kids composed is:

"Crack down on unpasteurized milk"

One of several ways this is wrong was topic No. 1 in class yesterday: headsup: the blog: Hed ambiguity: Real and realerer. The saddest part is the compound is properly closed in the text; all the kids had to do was copy it.

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