John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

O brave new world

You can read in the Philadelphia Inquirer about words and catchphrases of the year, but for me and many of my colleagues, there is one statement that fitly epitomizes the year that is gasping its last today:

“Our market-based, forward-looking plan is both a response to the recessionary economy, continued downward financial pressures on the news industry and our transition into a 21st-century multimedia enterprise.”

Thus Jonathan Slevin, publisher of the Washington Times, in a statement redolent of the rancid corporate-speak so familiar during the past twelve months, announces that he is sacking forty percent of the newsroom staff.

6 comments:

  1. If legislatures (or, in the case cited, Congress) had any integrity at all, they would make such doublespeak grounds for justifiable homicide.

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  2. Slevin has obviously sacked all his copy editors. Lord, what a mangled sentence.

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  3. It would appear the Washington Times is staffed by lawyers.

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  4. I am all sympathy for the fired workers, but anything the WashTimes does to kill itself off — it's never made money — is for the public good.

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  5. The Times implosion is newsworthy: If owner-subsidized newspapers can't make it, the message should be crystal clear to anyone who still holds out the slightest hope for print news. Everybody needs to sit back, take a stress pill, and re-read Fahrenheit 451.

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  6. What newspapers need is a backwards-looking plan that restores quality to the newsroom. For now, who can forget the immortal words of a Washington Times city editor, "Damnit, we're on deadline. Stop levitating and type."

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