|Taking the ournal out of journalism
||[Jan. 5th, 2004|02:24 pm]
I appreciate that this post is completely irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t work in IT journalism, but I’ve had to wade through two of the worst pieces of writing I’ve ever seen today, and I’d like to vent my frustrations once and for all…..|
Dear Mr I.T. Freelancer,
Having read your latest piece of copy, I’ve come to the conclusion that you must have been kidnapped, killed and buried in a hole in the ground by some kind of retarded chimpanzee - a chimpanzee that has cruelly taken over your writing duties. There’s no other way I can explain the piece of gibberish I received, because, according to your email, you’re an ‘expert’ in your field and you’re, apparently, a ‘well respected journalist’.
I don’t even know where to begin, but let’s start with the introduction. This is the bit that grabs the reader’s attention, right? The bit that makes or breaks the piece, where they decide whether to read the article or not. You know this of course; you’re a ‘respected journalist’. So why have you written two of the most boring sentences in the world? More to the point, why have you used a boring historical intro that no one will ever want to read? ‘Last month HP brought out the D1566778, now it’s brought out the D176898’. Yeah, that’s great, I want to read another 1,000 words just like that.
But what about your next paragraph? You know about structure, right? You know that you can’t just write bullet-point staccato sentences containing facts – no one wants to read that. It’s easily avoided by making the next sentence or paragraph lead on from the last one. But, oh dear, that murdering ape has once again got in and written a completely irrelevant paragraph about you having a holiday in South Africa straight after your introduction about tape storage. After all, you aren’t just an IT journalist, you’re really a celebrity, and everyone wants to read about you, your house, your holidays and all the irrelevant kit you own.
They also want to read pages full of meaningless clichés and jargon, I mean, come on, who actually wants to read simple understandable words? You’re a ‘respected journalist’, though, so you should be a veritable thesaurus of original ways to say things, but this sadly must have slipped your mind when you wrote this piece of dog shit. I found over ten uses of ‘does what it says on the tin’ and ‘it’s not rocket science’, and there were also two completely incomprehensible paragraphs using phrases like ‘turnkey solution’, ‘inherent backbone of richer functionality’ and ‘standards-based application operational discipline’.
Some might say that these kinds of phrases cover up a lack of understanding, but this can’t be true because you’re an ‘expert’ in your field and you write with such authority. No really you do. Your verdict where you said ‘I don’t really know if I like this or not, why don’t you have a go and see for yourself’ will help loads of people make a foolproof buying decision. And it was really good that your 1/5 star rating wasn’t completely at odds with the positive-sounding review.
Maybe you should learn to write conclusions too. These are the bits at the end of a piece that sum up what you discovered during your research or testing, which say whether a product’s any good or not or whether a new technology will take off. You know, so you get to the end and the reader has no doubt about what your opinion is. Unfortunately you must have accidentally deleted your conclusion though, as I just seem to have some obscure comment about battery life at the end of your review.
So why did you become an IT journalist? You can be an IT specialist without writing about it, you know. You can just do the stuff you’re an ‘expert’ at, although you wouldn’t be able to cover up your lack of knowledge by writing ‘please can you write this bit Mr Editor as you know more about it than I do’ in the middle of your review.
Journalists usually have a love of writing, where they carefully craft each sentence and paragraph so that it has pace, structure and authority. They at least pay attention to grammar and re-read it several times to make sure it all makes sense. This is, unfortunately, more than I can say for your jumbled collection of illiterate nonsense, which is packed with big long boring lists, a shocking lack of commas, and some apostrophes appearing in some very odd places.
I am, of course, assuming English is your first language, which makes me wonder why you write like Avid Merrion. Not only does it not make any sense, but it's also full of irrelevant comments and meaningless waffle that could easily be written in just one sentence. In fact, let’s imagine for a second that all the ‘proper’ journalists in the world produced the same standard of work as you, and that this review of The Matrix actually appeared in The Guardian:
Director: I think it is made by the same person as Terminator
Rating: 3/5 (or maybe 2 or 4 what do you think?)
Verdict: I am not sure if I like this film yet if you see what I mean but it has inherent special effects functionality which I like but I am not sure if I would like to pay £10 to see this film in a cinema where it costs too much unless I was in another country like rome where I saw Spartacus. Why don’t you see it and make up your own mind
Years Ago Kenu revs was in a part of bill and Ted films now hes in matrix. It is a new film that you will be able to see at cinemas and a few months later you will also be able to get a video of it I am sure.
If you want to like to know what is in this film it has long leather coats, sun glasses, guns, the future, a big computer game that we are living in, a blue pill and a red pill, people flying through the sky although it iss not really flying as it is controlled by matrix, people staying still while other people are still doing the moving and flying, the boy who was playing damien in Home & Away, Lawrence Fishburn, agents who are wearinfg some suits, some worms in a sirinje that were not a dream in the end, it is a dark foilm with alot of grey and black inside many of the shots except for morpheuss’’s training bits where it is all white except him and Kebu Reevs and their sofa they are sitting on watching TV.
[Ben please can you write a paragraph about the director here!!!!]
Matrix will be out in two weeks Which is good just in case you would like to see another film instead. It has men and women and spaceships in it although I am not sure if they were really spaceships as they weren’t in space it’s not rocket science.
[BYLINE] Your name, you tosser, although it should really be mine as I’ll have to write the actual review that goes to print.
Look, you enormous bell end. Do you really think this kind of illiterate, lazy and pointless nonsense would make it into the national press? No? So why have you sent it to me? Despite the fact that I’ve had to completely re-write your sorry excuse for a piece of writing, I’ll still have to pay you hundreds of pounds for it, because you’re an ‘expert’ and you’re probably bumming one of my bosses. What’s more, you’ll then have the nerve to phone me when it comes out to say that you’re 'not happy with your work being re-written without consultation’.
Please, please, please get another job. And while we’re at it, please stop hassling me on the phone, asking me (in your annoying whiny nasal voice) for work that I’m never going to give you again. I’m sure there’s something else you’re good at. I don’t know exactly what, but there must be something. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. The whole industry (except for a few good people) seems to be devoid of any talent – you’ll get away with your crap writing for at least ten more years if you want to. I’m just asking, for the sake of your own pride and integrity, please stop this nonsense now.
One seriously annoyed editor