Feeding the Beast Its Steady Diet of Lurid Scandal

A while back, I published a post in which I made an epic misuse of the English language by simply leaving out some words between my brain and the keyboard, and then failing to proofread the post.

It was ugly, but I owned up to it.  Because it was ugly.

I have always understood the necessity of multiple rounds of proofreading, because frankly, my typing sucks.  The only thing that saves me is feeling in my fingers that I have hit the wrong key, and looking up at the screen to see the mistake.  The following sentence, for example, will be published without correction:

So when I read this post from Stacy McCain, it was I nthe sirit of knowing that  writers need editors to look with a fresh pair of eyes in the sam way that reportrs need editors and fact checkers to make sure a story is both accurate and newsworthy. (5 mistakes by my count)

And in that spirit, I completely agree with Stacy that the story is simply not newsworthy.  I am related to people who make some low-level noise in Democratic political circles (forget I said that – QUICKLY) and if we replace Holly Fisher with any of those people, it still wouldn’t be newsworthy.  I remember when President Kennedy’s dalliances with a Hollywood starlet were not deemed worthy of public interest; I remember when Bill Clinton’s escapades with an intern were.

All in all, I prefer the old way.  Not my business.  But times change, technology changes, the news cycle is now an insatiable 24 hour beast to be fed without ceasing, and the internet has brought citizen journalism to the lexicon.  Anyone who is interested, whether they are degreed or not, can chase a story, post it on a website, and e-mail a link to the world.

And it doesn’t matter if the story is correct or not, sourced or not, edited or not, fact-checked or not, newsworthy or not.  Because journalism has changed in the 40 years since Watergate, and on the whole, not for the better.

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Looking For a Recommendation

I have this friend/acquaintance/person I know/sorta dickish person I’ve never met/total asshole in my life who suffers from a perfidious and easily exacerbated neurological disorder.

I’ve been scouring the web for many weeks looking for a truly top-notch independent website/blog with news and advocacy information that might help him, run by a person with a truly sterling reputation, but I’m really not having any luck.

All I seem to come up with are websites selling absolutely atrocious, really vomit-inducing audio which purports to be comedy. I don’t know what sane person would consider this stuff funny, but I guess even people who are that far gone need a laugh too, I guess. Or not.

Anyway, if someone out there (I’m looking at you, Rick Buchanan) could point me at a cool, well-designed and informative website like that, I’d really appreciate it.

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Why God Made Editors

I like WordPress as a blogging platform, but it does have a drawback. I have found it to be a little bit kludgy when it comes to long-form writing. For me that’s more than a thousand words or so. I fall back on Microsoft Word for that.

And I take sufficient pride in my writing that I rarely hit the Publish button without three or four revisions, even in a short piece like this. I proofread, I correct. I proofread again, I correct. Add a bit here, cut a bit out there, move something around.

Then I do it all again.

But sometimes – and it ticks me off when it happens – I just miss something. In yesterday’s post, there was this paragraph:

Still, in good faith, Hoge did ask his readers to lay off Bill, and let him make the promised changes to his internet presence which the two litigants (I’d call them ‘men’ if Bill hadn’t disqualified himself many years ago) had shaken hands on. And for the most part, the readers did. But sure enough, Bill is soon at work on a new cut-and-paste masturb-piece, a true story to put all the “facts” in the record. Less than a week after the settlement is signed, Bill attempts to all along, the plan was that he would show up anyway, and without me there to defend myself, he would win his peace order.

That last sentence – WTF, right? I put it there, and even I can’t figure out what it’s supposed to say.

This is why writers DON’T hit the publish button right away. This is why editors DON’T occupy the same headspace as writers. The back-and-forth between them hones not just the techical aspects of the writing (grammar, punctuation, usage, sentence flow and such), but also addresses thematic mistakes, holes in arguments, missing information, and countless other potential problems. The second pair of eyes, the objective reader, is vital.

Most solo bloggers have to wear both hats, and they don’t always fit together. Sometimes my eyes just gloss over a paragraph because my head already knows what it’s supposed to say, but my fingers never got the message.

The example above is just horrid and embarrassing.

WHY DIDN’T ANY OF YOU PEOPLE TELL ME? I WOULD HAVE COME TO COURT TO DEFEND MYSELF!

…this is all your fault…

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