Monday, June 14, 2010

ToMA: Selecting local subcontractors is truly vital

Sandy Griffis may be qualified to speak on the topic of hiring local contractors to remodel our schools, and what she has to say may be cogent. But it's hard to tell, because short of a few illiterate, drug-addled rants in the comments, this is the worst-written piece I've seen in the Courier in an awfully long time.

The language is murky, full of industry jargon, as if written as a personal letter between people with deep background on the issue. The syntax ranges from clunky to impenetrable. There are so many hanging adjectives it looks like a style preference.

While I have to wonder whether an introductory paragraph is missing from the top, I can have little doubt that the column pretty much came over the transom in this condition, since even a third-string Courier copy editor would have done something to clarify the acronyms and clean up hopeless garble like this: "The project delivery must be appropriate and as a community citizen it is important to ensure that each procurement and the selection process has been appropriately qualified and again, for the well being of our community and to ensure that local is used it is important to watch the weighting of criteria and data." Yikes.

I'm not saying that the awfulness of this particular piece does any significant damage to the body politic. But for me it's hair-raising in that I have to infer that the editors are either incapable of handling technical language, incompetent to determine that language this bad needs fixing, unwilling to put any effort into a prepackaged column, or simply not at their desks and the machine is running without an operator. In any case this is no way to build credibility for a news organization. Get your act together, people!


Anonymous said...

If you have ever heard this woman address the city council you would not be surprised at her disjointed, meandering, undecipherable letter. Apparently she attended no school at all, or the Lamersonian school of English composition..

Steven Ayres said...

It's amazing, really. I can't get an LTE printed without some amateur messing it up, but the editors are AWOL when a columnist really needs one.