They got paid to write this?


Rather than risk copyright infringement charges, I’ve excerpted the pertinent line from a news article on a local news channel’s Web site. This happened Saturday night. The driver was LifeFlighted to OHSU.

MAX train collides with car in Hillsboro

The MAX train was not seriously damaged, but the car was smashed up.

How ’bout that last line? Somebody actually got paid to write that. I thought at first that maybe it was just lifted from the police report, that no reporters had been on scene. But no, they actually had video. Maybe they have junior high kids interning on weekends? I’m not linking to the article because you have to sign up (including e-mail) at KGW’s site to read it which I think is just obnoxious. Seriously, can you imagine if CNN did that?

Anyway, it just seemed to me that an accident which involves LifeFlight warrants more descriptive prose than ‘smashed up’.

Now their Weather Alert is reporting that some buses are on “school routes” this morning. Ummm… ok. Perhaps that was supposed to say “snow routes”?

Am I expecting too much?

Sidenote: The accident occurred three, count ’em, 3 blocks from a hospital. But they LifeFlighted the driver to another hospital. Doesn’t say much for the nearby facility.

Here’s a slideshow of the “smashed up” car from the local Fox affiliate.

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6 thoughts on “They got paid to write this?

  1. you know, my family treats me like an old fart when i rant about stuff like this, but they don’t disagree with me. i think they just wonder why i get so hot and bothered by it. it goes back to what I call “personal minimum standards.” The way you talk to your peepz is different from the way you talk to your friends’ parents. and the way we talk on the blog (although quite public) is slightly different from the way we’d structure our thoughts for the SF Chronicle/LA or NY Times. No good editor would let that get out over the air/in print (weekend or not.)

    But then again, you did mention this was a Murdoch-owned Fox affiliate….

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  2. Ah sorry for the confusion. The photos were on a different site from the story I was having a hissy fit over. The story ran on KGW’s Web site (I believe they are owned by Belo Corp.). The photos that I linked to at the bottom were on the Fox site (KPTV).

    I’m glad I’m not the only one appalled at the lack of English skills displayed by the media. Journalists used to be the standard-bearers, the keepers of the flame. I realize this is a little podunk station in Oregon, but it’s just embarrassing that they’re such a bunch of hayseeds. One of the weathermen on KGW was interviewed on CNN a couple years back during a report on the severe weather we were having at the time (I think it was flooding) and he just started a-jawin’ and the CNN anchor basically had to cut him off to shut him up.

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  3. When I was a kid, my dad ranted whenever a newscaster used improper grammar. I thought he was overreacting. Now, I’m the same way.

    Journalists should *still* be the standard-bearers.

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  4. And you would think they would want to, that they are drawn to the field because they have a love of writing, which usually dovetails with a love of language. But I’ve been wrong before.

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  5. To a certain extent I blame the rise of informal communication like texting and emailing. In a way we can include blogging (present company excepted) because abbreviating and shorthand is acceptable in these venues. Journalism is not blogging (although journalists do blog.)

    The problem comes when the writers/speakers don’t discriminate between the “informal” and the “formal.” Business communication is not informal just because you are sending it electronically and not on letterhead. But hey, I’m an old-fashioned girl: I’d like to get to know you before I start spilling my intimate secrets. But it seems that’s an antiquated notion in our shallow, tabloid-driven culture. (again, present blog excepted.) 🙂

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  6. Rosie, I think you’re right about e-mail and texting being behind the demise of English skills. I am appalled at the e-mails here in my office. It’s a good way to find out real quick who has basic English skills, and who doesn’t. I never put anything in an e-mail I wouldn’t want someone else to read (i.e., no derogatory comments, etc.). It’s a professional communication, not a private conversation with a close friend. All too often something gets forwarded around to people the sender never intended to see it. Netiquette experts have been railing about this for years, seemingly to little avail.

    I wonder if this is discussed at all in journalism school these days? In some ways I think it’s a sign of the next “generation gap.” Younger people seem far more likely to treat all forms of communication equally.

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