Hilarious! Who Lets These Folks in the Newsroom?

Headlines in the local PlayNooz…

  • Fox 10 News: “Rain Falls Where Phoenix Residents Already Struggling Damage” Who knew? “To struggle” is now a transitive verb?
  • KTAR (local radio station): “Parents Should Embrace Technology When Communicating with Teachers” Hee! Picture that! Take your laptop to parent-teacher conferences so you can hug it like Linus hugging his security blanket.
  • Fox 10 News (again!): “New Drug That Looks Like Lip Balm Hits Atlanta!” Did it break anything?
  • 12 News, The Arizona Republic: “Morning Storms, Rain Will Impact Commute” No… Teeth are impacted. Storms and rain affect, slow, clog, complicate, dampen, drench, flood, make a gawdawful hair-pulling mess of. “Impact” is now a hoary old cliche, recently joined by the endlessly annoying “speak out”:
  • Fox 10 News: “Mother Speaks Out After Mentally Ill Daughter Shot by Police” This would be the woman who’s unhappy because the cops defended themselves when her middle-aged daughter, known for prior violent behavior, came after them with a claw hammer. Have you noticed that everybody and his little sister is always “speaking out” these days? Most of them have nothing to say that anyone cares to hear.

Awful. Arizona’s public schools rank near the bottom among states in the nation, and so the habit of emitting bloopers like these shouldn’t be surprising. That doesn’t make it any less grating.

If you want to be a writer, if you want to be a journalist, please: Learn to use your native language.

How do you do that? Get a decent grammar handbook and study it. And read, read, read, read the best fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in your native language. One constant source of amazement for me is the number of would-be magazine writers who refuse to read magazines; the number of would-be literary and genre writers who don’t read literature.

The Internet is not a good model for an aspiring writer. Read a book today.