Friday, April 04, 2008

The Mimimum Acceptable Level

I get my news from a number of sources. The BBC, Crikey, The International Herald Tribune, Slashdot, Groklaw, The Bartlett Diaries, The Chaser, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Butterflies and Wheels, and News.com.au. This exposes me to a number of sources of a range of views, although mostly leftish, and a range in the level of quality. And one of the sad facts that comes from all this is that News.com.au and the newspapers it feeds from are really lacking when it comes to quality journalism. In fact, they are probably the least respectable news source I use and generally the least interesting.

There was one article though today which drew my ire and caused this criticism to be written. The article is this. You don't necessarily need to read it as I'm going to quote the two lines that so infused me with rage. The headline for this article reads "Rents to double over four years". Scary, especially for those of us whose employers are not obligated by immigration law to provide accommodation (finally, a second good point about Korea). This in and of itself does not cause me to question in any way the journalistic quality of the writer, nor indeed their quality as a human being. But then I read the first sentence of the story "Rents in major cities will rise by 50 per cent over the next four years, a new report predicts." Now, I'm infuriated. Now I have to question just what this person is doing as a journalist, for I am presented with one of two possibilities. One, the journalist lacks the basic mathematical knowledge to realise that a rent increase of 50% is not the same as doubling the rent paid. Or two, the journalist does not have sufficient command of the English language to realise that the word they used does not mean what they think it means (I wish I'd been able to phrase that so I could quote Inigo Montoya there, but my style and his don't quite mesh. Inconceivable, you might say, but it is so. Anybody want a peanut?) In either situation, this person should not be writing in a major (or even a minor) news source. When there is a contradiction this big in the first two lines of a story, one has to wonder just how much effort was put into the research and writing of the story.

I'm sure this is not exactly news to my small band of readers, but I felt the need to vent on this particular article, and to disparage News.com.au as a newsource. It provides the chicken mcnugget of news. Blech.

End Post
Writing time: 24 minutes
Time since last post: writing time plus a half hour or so
Current media: still none

3 comments:

Chris_the_Blogger said...

While agree with you that the story in question is remarkably dodgy, and agree that news.com.au is really trashy, I think that you can't blame Rupert for the article.

Or at least, blame him along with Fairfax, West Australian Newspapers and Rural Press Limited. They being the owners of Australian Associated Press.

I like the BBC too. Particularly when ABC news radio streams the world service late at night.

David Barry said...

It's usually the subeditor who chooses the headline, not the journalist.

Esonlinji said...

Then perhaps it is the subeditor who is incompetent. If they can not read and understand an article so much that the headline blatantly contradicts the article, how the fuck did they get to the position of subeditor.

Regardless, someone in the process is still incompetent.