Old 6th February 2015, 02:54   #1
iomegajaz
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Professional journalism

Here I will post examples of abysmal writing by professional journalists. I sometimes tweet or otherwise contact the journos to make them aware of their errors; sometimes they ninja-edit the articles to fix errors, and sometimes they don't.

Here's one where some fixes were applied, and some – confusingly – were not.

The article: http://www.news.com.au/world/middle-...-1227201640154
My tweets to the author: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...53932017455104
Zoom-in of my proofreading effort: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B8jooJcCYAARUfZ.jpg:large

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 6th February 2015, 02:56   #2
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/technology/ho...-1227193229499
My tweets: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...96966555828225

In this case, I neglected to screenshot or otherwise record evidence of the article in its original, non-edited, offending state. I won't make that mistake again.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 6th February 2015, 04:40   #3
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All the news services are like this. I think a High School news paper student could provide more competently written, factually written and grammatically correct news articles.

Scenic Television is your ambient window to the world - - Television.ScenicRadio.com
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Old 6th February 2015, 09:50   #4
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This is interesting.. Damn! How many articles I've read with a lot of errors like these and now I'm taking it into my writing?.. (I think reading is one of my better ways to keep improving my english.. )
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Old 9th February 2015, 03:03   #5
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/national/spec...-1227213109555
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...35320411365376
Zoom-in: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B9X81KACMAAMpck.png:large

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Old 11th February 2015, 03:09   #6
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/travel/world-...-1227215389594
My tweets: https://twitter.com/SchneiderK/statu...57230430502913
Screenshot of the tweets in case she deletes any of the above: tweets.zip

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Old 11th February 2015, 03:17   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sankt View Post
All the news services are like this. I think a High School news paper student could provide more competently written, factually written and grammatically correct news articles.
I agree that they all suck, but I lack your confidence in the next generation's ability to do any better.

I don't expect things to improve if nobody ever calls these hacks on their collective shit; things probably won't greatly improve even if we do constantly call them out, but it can't hurt any more than trying to read this drivel.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 11th February 2015, 23:31   #8
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Old 12th February 2015, 20:49   #9
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The author of this one lists herself as a Senior Journalist on her twitter profile.

Article: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment...-1227218073016
My tweets: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...90792066383872


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Old 15th February 2015, 21:47   #10
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel...-1227220125032
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...92555448217601

This one is a simple case of the author using the wrong word; failing to proofread leads to this sort of ridiculous grade-school-level error.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 16th February 2015, 01:56   #11
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Article: http://www.foxsports.com.au/what-the...-1227221279947
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...55146719633408


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Old 17th February 2015, 02:02   #12
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment...-1227222639501
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...19283366744064


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Old 17th February 2015, 21:07   #13
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Old 17th February 2015, 21:10   #14
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The hip hop group in question actually noticed another typo that I somehow missed ("…has launching…"): https://twitter.com/Thundamentals/st...49335043567619

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 17th February 2015, 21:21   #15
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/rea...-1227223039064
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...10497703120896


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Old 17th February 2015, 21:39   #16
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/technology/on...-1227222668957
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...15380619563008


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Old 18th February 2015, 01:15   #17
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...-1227223601392
His poorly written tweet: https://twitter.com/JamieSeidel/stat...29546700955648
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...69660701417472


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Old 18th February 2015, 01:36   #18
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/technology/on...-1227223628391
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...75074214137856


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Old 18th February 2015, 02:03   #19
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Article: http://www.foxsports.com.au/more-spo...-1227223039234
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...81833913823232


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Old 18th February 2015, 02:26   #20
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Article: http://www.news.com.au/sport/america...-1227224007165
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...87558471847939


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Old 18th February 2015, 02:44   #21
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I'm lucky that my current job requires very little time/effort/attention; any other job might hinder my constant stream of twitter complaints about crappy writing on news websites.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 19th February 2015, 02:51   #22
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I sent this email today, to the editor of a local newspaper, complete with a 6-page Word doc attachment in which I spelled out each and every perceived error, as well as my proposed solutions to those errors. I wonder what will come of this.

Quote:
Mr XXXXX,

I write to you with a proposition in mind: that I might proofread the XXXXX Times each week, prior to the Times going to print.

The Times often contains numerous errors in spelling, punctuation, formatting, phrasing and simple typing. Being a local – I have owned my own home at XXXXX since 2008 – I am keen to see the Times continue its tradition of providing local news for the XXXXX region. I believe that proofreading the Times – improving the quality of its written content – will help to ensure its continued publication into the future.

I have taken the liberty of proofreading last week's edition of the Times; my notes are attached to this email. I would appreciate you taking the time to look over these notes so as to fully understand the scale of the perceived problem, and to appreciate the requirement for a solution to be found.

Moving forward, I propose that a "final draft" version of the Times be sent to me each week, so that I might proofread and return it to you, corrected, prior to printing.

My review of last week's edition took approximately 4.5 hours, however for the sake of this initial review I did not include the Life and Times section on pages 26 to 28. Based on the quantity of written material in the Life and Times section, I estimate that my review of that section would add approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, bringing the total billable hours to between 6 and 6.5 hours. My fee for proofreading is $110 per hour, including GST. A typical weekly proofread would therefore cost approximately $660-$715 including GST. I would hope that the standard of your journalists' writing would improve with successive editions, especially if copies of this and future proofreads were made available to them. This would naturally lead to subsequent weekly proofreads taking less and less time, thereby lowering the weekly cost.

I very much look forward to hearing back from you soon regarding this proposition; I believe it represents a great potential benefit to the Times and greatly improves the prospects for its continued publication into the future – in exchange for what I consider to be a negligible weekly financial outlay.

Cheers,

XXXXX@XXXXX.X
Doing this proofreading and typing up this email has kept me busy today, so much so that I haven't had time to critique today's web news articles.

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 2nd March 2015, 21:31   #23
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/world/zhang-q...-1227245299182
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...24274109427712


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Old 2nd March 2015, 23:40   #24
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/bea...-1227245903262
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...54451648557056
The author's response: https://twitter.com/beck_sullivan/st...55355898527744



She edited the article and replied to my tweet within 4 minutes. Talk about instant feedback and response.

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Old 3rd March 2015, 00:59   #25
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/rea...-1227245641553
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...76872820678656


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Old 3rd March 2015, 01:12   #26
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Sheer journalistic incompetence displayed in this one.

The article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/rel...-1227245883524
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...79962437279744


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Old 3rd March 2015, 02:35   #27
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/finance/busin...-1227246054520
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...00855804825600


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Old 4th March 2015, 15:58   #28
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a great way to waste my last 30 minutes at work!
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Old 5th March 2015, 01:28   #29
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel...-1227249232957
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...08629157339137

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Old 10th March 2015, 23:23   #30
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/rea...-1227256825286
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...51456926433281


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Old 11th March 2015, 12:00   #31
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You need a better job.
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Old 11th March 2015, 23:45   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iomegajaz View Post
I sent this email today, to the editor of a local newspaper, complete with a 6-page Word doc attachment in which I spelled out each and every perceived error, as well as my proposed solutions to those errors. I wonder what will come of this.

Quote:
[SNIP]
Doing this proofreading and typing up this email has kept me busy today, so much so that I haven't had time to critique today's web news articles.
Response from the editor in question:

Quote:
Hi Hugh,

Thanks for your email in relation to proofreading the XXXXX Times. Unfortunately we no longer have a budget allocation for proofreading so I am unable to take you up on your offer.

You definitely have a keen eye for mistakes and if it was possible for me to hire a proofreader I would, but these days it is very rare for a newspaper to have a proofreader on staff and we are no exception.

I'll keep your details on file though in case we do any one-off publications that include proofreading in their budget.

Thanks.

[first name].
Interpretation: "I can't do my job because we can't afford to pay someone else to do it."

"My heart hates uggos." –J.D.
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Old 18th March 2015, 01:04   #33
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The article: http://www.news.com.au/technology/on...-1227267589335
My tweet: https://twitter.com/heyitshugh/statu...13877893353472


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Old 18th March 2015, 13:52   #34
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>Implying it's not all written by interns overseen by a freelance editor.

Like everybody subscribing to neoclassical economics, the only thing media companies can think of in the face of crisis is cutting costs, and the easiest way to do that is by firing the ones who used to generate value for you.
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