Saturday, April 14, 2007

Editorial: "Rule-breaking ATVs make forest dangerous"

Here's another from the teenaged intern the Courier is apparently allowing to write editorials. Guys, it's great that you're helping the kid learn, but it's not really a good idea to allow him to send it to layout unedited.

There's more to writing an editorial than rewriting a story from yesterday and adding "this is icky."

Talk of the Town: "Local citizens stepped up to help others"

Courier editors, it's clue time again: This is not an opinion piece. It's most of a news story written by the people involved, doing your job for you.

Today's mind-teaser: What sort of psychology does it take to lead someone, say a Courier editor, to see a simple story of people helping people as a political position?

A1: "PV: Proposed rule would crack down on graffiti"

Ken Hedler's council report is pretty good considering the eye-glazing meeting he had to sit through to get it.

Kids used to use chalk for graffiti, now they use spray paint and expensive markers. Hint: that's because their parents give them money.

Lambro: "Hillary's numbers are slipping already"

Another insightful analysis from America's most unsubtle Republican Party tool, the political 'editor' for the Washington Times (aka The Moonie Times).

I detest this writer, but in the interest of public service I held my nose and read the original column, "Her aura of invincibility is fading fast." I found that, while it's still pretty obviously designed to promote Republican talking points, the Courier's 274-word edit of the 816-word column manages to make Lambro look even worse than he is.

The Courier's headline points to the agenda that will take no one here by surprise: The Courier hates the Senator from New York, and takes every opportunity to slide another hatpin into its Hillary doll. Look at the two versions, see for yourself.

A2: "PV police ID possible suspect in home invasion"

I've got no problem with the story itself, it's simple police-blotter stuff. Today's editing lesson involves what happens when you forget the meaning of a word you use frequently.

There's a lot of very lumpy gravy in the copy, but I'll focus on the worst. "Possible suspect" here is just wrong. What you, the Courier reporter or editor, mean to say is either just 'suspect' or 'possible perpetrator.' Treating 'suspect' as interchangeable with 'perpetrator' leads to all sorts of nonsense, not least in how you relate to people who have been accused of crime.

Further reading: Strunk and White, "The Elements of Style," chapter 13.

Blog: "The professional "Poor Kids" can play"

John Kamin follows through on his promise to feature more local music on the local-music blog. Here's a cookie.

A1: "Preservation commission OKs building"

Yesterday I mentioned higher-density mixed-use development as a generally good thing, and here we have an example of what looks like a couple of appropriate infill projects that will fix a mistake Prescott made a long time ago, putting gas stations on the south corners of Montezuma and Sheldon.

Show some love for Cindy Barks, who gets to sit through all the boring public meetings to try and glean something like news out of them, and puts above-average craft into her copy despite the dry subjects.

One question, though, Cindy: Where will residents park those 20 or so cars? I'll guess there's a plan for a garage on the alley side, but I'd like to see it in the story.

A1: "Chino Meadows sewer project gets off the ground"

It looks like Doug Cook brought home the bacon here in terms of content, but it's obscured in very lumpy copy. It looks like the rewrite team was on break. Doug: The word you were looking for is 'leaching'; 'leeching' describes a rather different process. I'm sure this was just a fluke.