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Sloppy Journalism

Do we have to deal with this?

by James Leroy Wilson
June 19, 2012

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Sloppy Journalism

From the Saturday, June 16 Lincoln Journal Star: "Rafael Nadal lost in the quarter finals of the Gerry Weber Open on Friday ... in the Spaniard's first tournament since winning a record seventh French Open."

Yes, this is true; it was Nadal's "first tournament" since winning the French Open the French Open the previous Sunday.

But why the word "first?" How many other tournaments could he have possibly played in the meantime?

I would have used the word "first" if Nadal had actually taken time off after the big French victory before playing another tournament.

This is, admittedly, a minor error.

Sometimes, however, journalism can become very sloppy.

Take this story on the Pacquiao-Bradley fight in the June 10 Washington post.

I looked it up for last week's column to verify the weight class and sanctioning boxing organization. I was pretty sure it was welterweight, but I didn't know which belt was on the line (WBC, WBA, IBF, other?).

The article didn't mention the weight class (the photo caption did, I noticed later). It didn't mention the belt.

Of the 4 w's establishing basic facts - who, what, where, and when - the "what" was missing.

In the Washington Post, of all places!

But the most ridiculous item I saw last week was, "Casey Anthony Is Reading 'Hunger Games,' Book About Killing Children."

What's next?

"O.J. Simpson Cuts Steak With Knife, Same Kind of Weapon That Murdered Ex-Wife."

"OKC Thunder Coach Brooks is White, Just Like Hitler."

"Kareem Abdul Jabbar is Muslim, as Was Osama bin Laden."

A century ago, journalism was considered a lunch-bucket job. Literacy was all that was required. Eminent writers such as H.L. Mencken, Henry Hazlitt, Garet Garrett, Isabel Paterson, and Rose Wilder Lane had educations ranging from some college to hardly any schooling at all.

Now, I wonder if you can even get your foot in the door at a major media outlet without an M.A. in Journalism.

Are we better off for it?

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