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Memories of the 28th Century

Poor Journalism

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There are many reasons for the business problems that newspapers have these days, but one major problems that also affects online and broadcast journalism is poor writing. Expository writing is fairly simple for people who can grasp simple logic.

An expository article or essay has three basic parts: introduction, which tells the subject being discussed, the body or details, and the conclusion, which sums up the details. I have read that the military discusses these three parts as: Tell them what you're going to tell them; tell them; and tell them what you told them.

I donít remember when I didn't know how to write an expository article, but I probably learned in in elementary school. Unfortunately, it often appears that some writers do not know how to do expository writing. I have seen articles that had headlines that suggested what they were something, but when I looked for the summary in the topic paragraph, I didnít find it, and when I looked through the body of the article, I still didnít find a summary of what it was about, and it wasnít summarized in the conclusion, either. I have come to expect such games in the descriptions of real estate for sale, and I understand that the facts would make it harder to sell, but thatís not what newspaper articles should be like. In fact, the big difference between newspaper articles and oped pieces is in the format. Oped writing will skate around many of the facts and just provide what supports the opinion being expressed, while news articles should provide as many relevant facts as possible.

The poor writing that I am referring to comes in many forms. Sometimes a writer will dance around the subject without describing whatever the news might have been. That can indicate complete ignorance, so the news is just a mystery, or it might show that the writer would rather be writing poetry, but that kind of writing means that the reader should turn to another page. Another problem that I have encountered has been the use of pseudo-facts. Sometimes that means that the writer is decades behind in that subject, and sometimes it means that the writer would rather be writing something else.

The lack of background on the part of the writer can be painful to read. In the recent past, I wrote about the difference between species and races, especially with regard to human evolution, and I continue to see articles that state that Neanderthals were a different species from the so-called modern human, and then it goes on to describe the genetic characteristics that Neanderthals provided to modern humans without noticing that separate species cannot produce fertile offspring, so any reproductive activity between the two types would have to have been without fertile issue, unless they were actually two types of the same species. I imagine that editors assign writers based on hopes, rather than proven ability.

Another reason why journalism is in poor shape, is that journalists seem to be ignoring the difference between reporting and opinion. As a result, a considerable part of what is called reporting is actually asserting opinions. Newspapers donít seem to quite as guilty of this as are broadcast news.

I wonder whether the use of lies and false premises by the president has meant that people feel that facts and good logic are no longer necessary. Trump tells lies all the time, so why shouldnít everyone?