berthahenson

How major a post-mortem?

In News Reports, Writing on May 17, 2012 at 12:21 am

Ex-colleagues of mine who were with me at dinner last night complained that I have been pretty mild in my comments on news articles. They think I should “hit harder”, take a scalpel to the body of work and eviscerate it I guess. Well, truth is, I have got milder and mellower over the years. Plus I don’t think a blog is the place to do an extensive post-mortem. In a class, yes, something which I did for well nigh on 10 years in my twice-yearly training programme for senior journalists. It can get pretty bloody…

Anyway, I am writing this blog to keep myself in touch with journalism skills and to get involved in the news of the day. I describe myself as a “professional reader”, who looks harder at headlines, turns of phrases and can easily spot gaps in reporting. Old editing habits die hard… Also, I would like to be an engaged citizen, who has something to say about the stuff that’s happening around us. A newspaper is a society in conversation and even if you are talking to yourself as you read, you are taking part in that conversation. So the reactions could be pretty knee-jerk and superficial, or just prejudiced. Or perhaps, some deeper thinking would be stimulated and some joy evoked at a particularly well-written article or column. I intend of to be part of that conversation.

Anyway, my ex-colleagues (who are no longer journalists and have no need to worry about my scalpel!) want me to share my “cemetery” on this blog. I have extended the cemetery over the years, adding words and phrases that are so cliched that they should be buried deep in the bowels of the earth. As a former editor, I warned journalists against exhuming them – on pain of death. I’ve allowed a few resurrections – words that have been so thoroughly  wiped off the face of newspapers that they deserve a new lease of life. Very few. In any case, I am gratified that I no longer have to read about a “slew” of measures in the past two days. Its become an array or raft of measures. I hope it has been well and truly slain.

As for the cemetery – akan datang

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