I thought I'd start this post with a few words about my last. I decided to x-post the blog about Dave FM trying out music in the mornings in the Atlanta community on livejournal.
42. That would be the number of comments that I got on it there.
12. That would be the number of comments that actually had something to do with the subject at hand.
The rest? Well, those all had to do with falsely accusing me of grassroots campaigning for Dave FM. *ahem*. First off, let me say THANK YOU. Comparing my writing to that done of some already-professional public relations practitioners is a total compliment. Another THANK YOU to those people who thought that my writing was "sly" enough in the grassroots sense to be effective in pursuing people to listen to that radio station. And lastly, THANK YOU for reminding me why I never post in the Atlanta community. You're all just a bunch of big-headed, bored, rung-out 30-somethings with nothing else to do but make false accusations about a college student's work.
And when I told them I was not grassroots campaigning, they didn’t believe me, arguing that if I were, I still wouldn’t come out and say it. And why, exactly, would I waste my time trying to lie to some LJ community? That seems silly. “Oh…oh…gee…okay. You caught me! I was really trying to be sneaky about something that I’m not affiliated with what-so-ever. Gosh darn it!” You, mister, get the prize for making yourself look like the biggest asshole of the day.
I think that what stood out to me as being the most ignorant was when someone called my writing awkward and sloppy. It's a blog, people! If you're so caught up on LJ that you're critiquing people's non-professional writing as professional and comparing it to your own -- you're in the wrong spot. This is my opinion. I felt like expressing something exciting to me. Whether you think it's sloppy or not is neither here nor there.
And if I were to be grassroots campaigning for them, which I’m not, who is to say that it's wrong? Companies are desperate in these economic times. Contract-hiring and freelancing are at the highest they've ever been It's cheap and if you can get someone who's good, effective. Unethical? Maybe. But if I were doing it, I would identify myself in some way. It's just like on Yelp.com/Atlanta. There are a ton of employees on there from successful PR firms and Restaurant Groups. But they all call each other out. It's actually quite hilarious. They're marketers! They get the word out about their product/service/organization. It's what they do. Who is to say they're wrong? Oh yeah. The bored 30-something stuck in his parents' basement watching Adult Swim re-runs all day drenched in McDonald's wrappers.
On that note, I end with: Has anyone heard about the sudden closing of the Barnacles in Kennesaw?
After the last post, I feel that it may only be appropriate that I do a post about the pandas at Zoo Atlanta!
Well...not so much just the pandas, more about the folks who write about them.
The Zoo has been so with-it since the birth of Mei Lan back in 2006 that they set up a Panda up-date blog-type thing to keep those who are interested in the progression of the new pandas in the know. Many of the keepers of the pandas (the people who train, feed, and watch them) make daily updates about recent happenings and the latest panda news. Some of my favorite updaters are Dr. Rebecca Snyder, who is the Curator of Giant Panda Research and Management, and Kate Roca, a Giant Panda Keeper. Zoo Atlanta is good at creating fancy zoo titles.
I was upsest last week to find that one of my favorite blogs had been updated with one of the silliest posts yet. I'm not too sure what Debbie Forde is responsible for around the Panda Building, but I have to say that post makes her sound like one of the old rambling guests that the zoo sees day-in and day-out. "I am prone to ponderings...."? What does that even mean? Lady, get wtih it! This is a blog, not your personal diary where you can insert all the crazy philosophical talk you want. We're talking pandas here. What'd they eat today? Did the new cub do something especially cute this morning? We don't want to read about your meaningless ponderings. We want to read about pandas!
I'm not sure how they assign particular panda workers to write the blog. I doubt there's a process to what to write about or how to go about it. I do know, however, that blogs are informal, informational, and need to stick to the subject matter. I know that mother-offspring relations do pertain to pandas, but let's get real here: no one visiting this blog wants to hear that crap. We want to hear about Lun Lun's latest feat in mothering and Yang Yang's latest romp in the moat or Mei's longest nap record.
What it boils down to is the idea of KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. If you're submitting something to a journal about pandas, then maybe that type of language is appropriate. If you're updating a blog for the masses about the latest happenings inside the panda den, give us the good stuff.
And so now I will leave you with one of my favorite panda keeper entries. One of the best ones, if I may say. It was done by Jay Pratte, Giant Panda Keeper III when Mei Lan was a cub.
A story about the new panda cub almost being able to open his eyes grabbed my attention today on ajc.com. This interest, of course, was distracted by repeated patterns of inadequate (or just lazy) AJC copy editing. Unfortunately, this hasn't been my first run-in with such a trend on ajc.com. And to be honest, I am fed up with grammatical errors making me lose concentration and distracting me from the story.
First, I will present the evidence, then I will tell why I think copy editing is extremely important to a publication, especially one trying to stay afloat.
Exhibit A: Verb/tense agreement.
Exhibit B: spelling....I think?
Exhibit C: incomplete series of three.
We'll start with exhibit A. "Storms backs up airport..." Really? If you don't see a problem with this then say it out loud to yourself. Anyone who is an English speaker...rather, a correct English speaker...will stumble on themselves. Storms can back up an airport but, no, sorry, storms cannot backs up an airport. I read that headline and just shook my head. It was on the front page too! You don't even have proper English speakers working on your site who read the front page? I don't even want to read this story! I'm just so ashamed that Georgia's largest newspaper would make such a blatant mistake. Even more, other online outlets could be picking it up like Google, Technorati...it's just *sigh* bad.
On to B. Now, I do not consider myself to be obsessed with the pandas at Zoo Atlanta. But some of my friends may say I'm close. (They're adorable, who could resist? But that's beyond the point.) Nor am I a trained panda zoo keeper. Leon Stafford may be; I don't know that either. However, using the means I do have, I am willing to bet that the not-nearly 50 day-old cub weighs far less than a ton. I'm not saying. I'm just saying. But Stafford should be the expert here -- after all, he is the one who the AJC has assigned to do proper research and to present a copy. If I had to guess, Stafford was trying to say that the cub was "born on Aug. 31". Now that would make sense. But again, I was distracted and felt almost betrayed. What’s the one thing you do to copy before you turn it in, Mr. Stafford? Read it out loud!
Finally, exhibit C. I’m not sure where Stafford went to J-school or even if he did. What I do know, however, is that grammar and writing were seriously beaten into mine and my colleges’ heads during my four years. Thanks to that, I know that in a series of three the first verb, or “set-up word,” has to match the three items in the list. I have diagrammed the screen shot to show you how he flubbed up (twice!) The sentence reads: “In the months to come, the cub will begin getting his teeth, use the bathroom by himself and crawl.” No…seriously…that’s what it says. “The cub will begin getting his teeth.” That’s fine. But the next item is incomplete. “Use the bathroom by himself.” Now if Stafford were intending for that to be one of the things that the cub is beginning, then he needs to re-write the first item to say, “The cub will begin to get his teeth.” That way we know that “begin to” can be applied to the last few items. Ergo the new cub will begin to do these things. The last two items are just simply incomplete. If read like they’re printed, the last item says he will “begin crawl.” I don’t even know what that means. “Begin to crawl” or “begin crawling” would make much more sense.
I know that some of you may be thinking to yourself that I’m just being picky and one-word slips here and there are to be expected. They’re okay. In some cases, yes. A once-in-a-while misspelling is okay. But when your publication is as “prestigious” and widely read as the subject at hand, not only can you not afford to be at the top of your game, but must act as the living example that students and other journalists around the world think you are. COPY EDITING IS A BIG DEAL. Spelling, grammar, organization, flow, all of the things that we tutor students on in the writing center matters in news! And when one-time slips turn into everyday occurrences and happen to be on the front page, then it’s just annoying and distracting. Not only that, but it really affects your publication’s reliability.
I understand that the AJC is subject to an epidemic of cost-cutting that is sweeping the nation right now, but I think that copy editors (or just better writers) should be taken more seriously when planning a staff budget.
The moral of the story is: What is a story if you don’t read it?
The council rests.