Tom Ortega II

Bloggers vs News Agencies: -1 for News Agencies

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

This one will be short. Over the years, bloggers have received grief about not being professional enough. This grief has come from big news agencies. I’ll agree, at times, bloggers do have a more lax feel to their posts. They may not have editors like news firms have, but their passion more than makes up for it.

HOWEVER, big news agencies are now losing credence in my mind these days. The drivel that is coming from them is frustrating.  I’m not talking about content either.  I’m talking about grammar.  It’s the one area where “professional” journalism is supposed to shine.  Sadly, more and more, it is not.  Here are three examples from the Reuters News Agency:

#1 Berkshire net sinks; Buffett says economy in shambles:

“Though the path has not been smooth, our economic system has worked extraordinarily well over time,” [Buffet] said. “It has unleashed human potential as no other system has, and it will continue to do so. America’s best days lie ahead.

Berkshire generates about half its results from insurance, including auto insurer Geico Corp, but operates more than 70 businesses that offer such things as carpeting, ice cream, paint, real estate services and underwear.

I found it pretty strange that Buffet was explaining what Berkshire did in a letter to Berkshire shareholders.  He wasn’t though.  It was just poor writing (and even poorer editing) that allowed the paragraph to end without a closing quotation mark.

Though that small minor item pales in comparison to other offense.

#2  HSBC looks to raise $18 billion:

British banking giant HSBC will try to raise $18 billion to quell investor concerns as a worsening global economy punished famed investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway with a 96 percent plunge in profits.

That run-on sentence turned paragraph is the start of the article.  How the writer (or again, his editor) thought that was a great intro, I’ll never understand.

#3 Same article as above:

I can’t do a quote of this offense as it is the entire first page.  I think that would push me over fair-use law, and Reuters would then sue me.  However, go to the article and look at the paragraphs.  The first 13 paragraphs of the article are 1 sentence paragraphs.  Some shouldn’t be, but they are.  And paragraph 9 doesn’t count because the quote has the period, which I’m sure the writer would have removed if he could.

That is just disgusting.  Has the economy gotten so bad that Reuters can’t afford periods anymore?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a blogging platform fanboy.  I don’t think  news agencies need to die.  What I DO think, though, is that companies like Reuters need to hire “professionals” and proofreaders to maintain their stature.  You can’t knock the fledgling journalists of the blogosphere and then put out crap like that.  Sorry.

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