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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Maybe I'll just lower my standards

Reader-submitted question: What happened to Name of Paper Withheld?

Nothing. They are still churning out their signature blend of bad grammar, uninformed opinions and sloppy reporting. (H/T to Glen.) They are simply incapable of getting better.

The headline on the front page yesterday was:

Library renos: "It sucks"

Hours cut, stacks for over six-weeks

Uh, what?

Can anyone tell me what the hell this is supposed to mean?

I'm picturing myself as an editor slaving late into the night. I have actually done this: it's not just something I've seen in movies. I'm working hard for the public interest, desperate to ensure that the citizens of Name of Town Withheld have all of the information they need to make good decisions about their lives. I'm running out of time -- the presses HAVE to start by a certain time, or the paper will not get out in the morning. A headline MUST be selected.

But what should be featured? Ah! The library renovations! Perfect: Name of Paper Withheld has been harping on the need for renovations for years. This will be yet another chance to criticise city council for being out of touch with society!

Hold on, I'm just getting word that the renovations are actually in response to complaints from the public. Hmmm. That won't do. The headline MUST be negative. I've got it: The renovations THEMSELVES suck! We'll put that in quotation marks so nobody can criticise us for being the ones to say it. And we'll make sure that when we set it up, the first half of the headline refers to the work in the plural form and the second half in the singular form. That will give us even MORE credibility.

Hmmm. That leaves some room down below. I need to put more words there. I'll just throw some words together randomly without worrying about whether they actually make sense.

It still needs something. Punctuation. I like punctuation. It makes me look smart.

What to do, what to do?

I'VE GOT IT! I'll throw a hyphen in!

But where to put it? Even these random words that don't make sense together don't seem to need a hyphen.

DAMMIT I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME FUCKETY FUCKETY FUCKETY FUCK WHO REALLY CARES! It's only the front page of the paper. Nobody sees that and makes judgments about the care we take with the rest of our work, right? Just shove a hyphen in anywhere.

Get this baby to press! Our work here is done!


scribe said...

This was on the front page? OMG----------it makes no sense whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Even better was Wednesday's headline: "SYPHILLIS OUTBREAK" (apparently, 5 cases is newsworthy!). It was place atop a photo of two business owners in an unrelated story. Nice.

Matthew and Michele said...

I have never been known for my spelling and grammer but I know that was bad.

Must drive you crazy to read our blog Megan.


Megan said...

Nah, I love your blog.

Cindy said...

OM goodness, htey didn't call five cases an outbreak without explanation, did they? They did.

(Cindy goes into blind health reporter rage.)

Karen said...

Cindy -

You're going to have to pace yourself where Name of Paper Withheld is concerned, otherwise you will blow a gasket by the end of the month from the sheer number of times your blood pressure hits a dangerous high.

In a world where everything is constantly in flux, it is reassuring to know that Name of Paper Withheld continues to suck just as much as it ever did. When I worked there in 1989-90, I knew it was time to leave after having a 45-minute screaming match with the copy editor who didn't see the problem with putting the headline "Rapist Acquitted" on my court story about a person being found not guilty of sexual assault (they had no prior record). They have also been fond of juxtaposing photos and headlines of unrelated stories in embarrassing ways, like the unsuspecting folks saddled with the syphilis headline.

Sometimes it hurts just to look.

Megan said...

"Rapist Acquitted" is my favourite headline of all time.