Thursday, September 9, 2010

Editorial: Getting on the same county page a challenge

The unnamed Courier editor seems more than a little distracted in today's editorial. We have the headline confusion, of course, but more telling is that the editor seems to have forgotten to write up the point s/he intended to make.

The piece starts out with the Board of Supes taking "no action" on a couple of infrastructure plans, and ends with an accusation that " the board members cannot seem to get beyond their turf wars and work together." In between the editor provides no justification for saying this. Very sloppy, and I'm sure it makes no friends among the Supes, who no doubt are being justifiably careful about capital plans right now.

On top of that, we get this little gem on the Sheriff's request for improvements at the jail: "The sally port, another name for a prisoner holding area, could hold as many as 80 prisoners awaiting their court hearings or trials." Clearly the editor misunderstood what the Sheriff was talking about and didn't bother to check the technicals.

"Sally port" is a very specific term referring to a passage through a fortification for troops to venture outward, and it's been adapted in the prison context to describe double-door passages for prisoner control. It's a door, not a room or enclosure or area. I imagine the Sheriff presented a plan for improvements to the prisoner holding area that include a double-door security passage, and I see with a quick Google search that at least one maker of security doors is using this fanciful term to describe its products.

The editor, as a communications professional, should have checked understanding of the term and then translated it into understandable parlance (e.g. "security passage") rather than apply a mystifying term like a kid showing off a shiny new toy.

No comments: