Saturday, January 26, 2013

Who's Doing the Work? Redux

Back in August, I wrote a post about who really does the work in determining the cause of fires. Well, it’s happened again.

At the end of a report about a fire, an unnamed reporter said that his/her local news station “is working to find out what caused the fire.”

To which an astute commenter replied:

“I suggest you leave that to the professional fire investigators and concentrate first on good reporting.”

See? I’m not the only one who notices these things.

The same writer also said “firefighters sprung into action.” Spring, sprang, sprung. I believe the correct usage here is “sprang,” although personally I would have found another way to describe the action.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Amateur Hour

I indulged in a little web browsing while eating breakfast this morning, just catching up on news and seeing what happened in our fair land overnight. I must have read more than a dozen articles on different topics from local and national news sources, and most of them – surprise! – contained typos. It was like Sunday morning amateur hour for reporters.

What follows is just a sampling of today’s treasures.

“…When police arrived, they saw four firefighters trying to hold down an intoxicated Perkins, who had awaken and become agitated.”

(The reporter probably intended to write “awakened” and missed those last two letters.)

“They were on the way to the hospital…when had to drive past the crash.”

(When who had to drive past the crash?)

The investigation into the crash had Constitution Avenue shut-down for over three-hours, police haven't determined why the Malibu swerved into oncoming traffic.

(a. There should be no hyphens in “shut down” or “three hours.” b. As written, this is a run-on sentence that should be two separate sentences.)

“It seems like only yesterday the destructive flames of the Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed over 360 homes…”

(The correct total is 346, a number that has been repeated in local media many, many, many times over the past six months. If this was a brand new reporter, I might cut her some slack. But this gal has been here long enough to know better.)  

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one on typo patrol this morning. When I saw this sentence, it read, “Police tried spraying Perkins with pepper spray.” According to this commenter, the original text was a little different:

“Spell check...its a wonderful invention kktv. Straying him with pepper spray?”

Apostrophes and capitalization. They are wonderful inventions, indeed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Time Flies…

…when you’re counting typos.

2012 closed out with one of the most typo-riddled online news articles that I have ever seen. In the writer’s defense, I think he was trying to make corrections, but somehow the old text was left behind. Take a look at these excerpts and see if you agree.

Firefighters quickly doused a house fire at 2629 Paseo Rd.Monday Road Monday afternoon…
The fire was reported just before 3:30. p.m .p.m.
The woman tried to douse the blaseblaze with an extinguisher…
A woman driving by stopped and let the family pile into her Toyota 4Runnercq to keep warm.
… catching newfallen new fallen snow.
This next line is from the same article. It’s not a typo, but an example of something I’m beginning to see more of in news stories: attributing animate characteristics to inanimate objects.
… smoke and flames were lunging from a front bedroom window.
The constant challenge of writing news stories, I think, is how to keep readers interested. Let's face it - there's only so many ways to describe fires, crimes, accidents, and other everyday occurrences. But to say that smoke and flames were “lunging” from a window just seems…odd. The writer got my attention, but not for the right reasons.