Thursday, April 10, 2008

journalism spotlight of the day

First, your orthography less of the day, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:

TROOP, n. 1 a: a group of soldiers b: a cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company cplural : armed forces, soldiers 2: a collection of people or things : crew 3: a flock of mammals or birds 4: the basic organizational unit of Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts under an adult leader.

TROUPE, n. a group of theatrical performers

TROUP. The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.

Now for some journalism, courtesy of the Daily Bulletin:
Group of Adult Muslims Learn to Form Troups

I'll forgive them for opting out of definition (4) above -- can you imagine the uproar engendered by a headline that mentioned Muslims forming troops? I prefer the theatrical metaphor for scouting over the military metaphor myself, although given the BSA's atavistic no-queers-and-no-godless-heathens policy, the military metaphor is closer to the truth.

But I'm not letting them off the hook for the spelling mistake. Actually, now that I think of it, perhaps we should see this as a work of brilliance: Who else could cram a spelling mistake AND a subject-verb disagreement into eight short words?

Under ordinary circumstances, at this point I would launch into spittle-flinging invective about the real reasons for the decline of print journalism, punctuated by the example of the Daily Journal sacking its entire copy desk, but I really need to get some work done today, before I get sacked myself.


Daniel Evans said...

Funny. Good post. However, there appears to be a typo in your first graf. You write: "First, your orthography less of the day, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:"

I imagine you meant the fourth word to say "lesson."

John Clifford said...

Great post.

Now if we can get reporters and announcers to learn that you can't have "less" of a plural (i.e. less people, less cars, etc.) we'll really be getting somewhere. At least our own Stater Brothers has signs that say "15 items or Fewer" not LESS. I know that Albertson's also does this while all others use the ubiquitous LESS.

So, why IS print journalism failing? (sarcasm)

Anonymous said...

It's actually correct in the print edition. I'll looking at it right now. ... strange

David Allen said...

Actually, the headline in our print version is correct: "Group of adult Muslims learns to form troops." So the lesson isn't about print journalism but, perhaps, about the kind of journalism you get if you don't pay 50 cents.

meg said...

Daniel: Heh. That was completely unintentional, but it certainly bears out the old Usenet maxim that every spelling flame contains at least one mispeling.

John: I have given up on the amount-vs.-number problem.

David: Eeeenteresting! Perhaps print journalism is failing because of, not despite, the copy desk?

John Clifford said...


I'd love to be able to give up on it, but it irritates me SO much when I hear it on TV or radio or see it in a newspaper. If it were just interviewees who did it, I'd be able to let it slide, but these supposedly "professional" journalist's continued abuse just get to me.

I think I'll go reread Eat, Shoots, and Leaves

Garrett Sawyer said...

*backs out*

Ed said...

Do these job cuts return a newspaper to profitability, or are they a means to enhance profit? The mega corporation controlling many of the small newspapers in the Los Angeles area (including the DB, SBSun, SGVT) recently lost an editor at the Los Angeles Daily News who opposed more newsroom cuts.

I'm waiting for the true local papers to reappear in an online form. It will start as a venture of passion, but with an audience for local advertising, the new community 'papers' will eventually be profitable.

Or so says my crystal ball.

calwatch said...

Pomona has had some community papers but they've failed. You don't have the same self-contained community like a Santa Clarita or San Pedro, the affluence of a Marina Del Rey or a Beverly Hills, or a business focus of a Downtown Los Angeles or Glendale to justify its own paper.

The word is that the Daily Bulletin will be selling its offices on Fourth Street by the end of the year. Most of the copy desk and sports desk already reports out of San Bernardino anyway. Reporters and columnists can type up copy on their laptops and email it to their editors but for face to face contact they'll have to slog through traffic to San Berdoo. MediaNews has a reputation of gutting great newspapers. Although no one would consider the Daily Bulletin one of the country's or even the state's great newspapers (sorry David), they've turned the Daily Breeze and Mercury News into carcasses of their former selves. I remember when the Daily Bulletin was first created, when the old Pomona Progress was bought out by the Ontario Daily Report and moved over to Ontario. They kept an office in Pomona for a while (first in the old Progress building, then on Garey Avenue a few doors down from Stater Brothers) but they closed that one down a few years ago. At this rate, they'll keep an office to take the advertising money, but all reporters will report to San Bernardino. And when times get bad, they'll close even that office down. This is what happened to the Alameda Times Star up north.