March 4, 2007

Worst Sentence Ever

She's what a 16-year-old should be. She loves being around people, tormenting her siblings, pretty flowers and powerfully pulled to all the joy watermelon bubble gum can bring.

But Susan Brems is also what no 16-year old should be, and that's dying.

From the article by Todd Welvaert in the Saturday March 3rd Dispatch/Argus on the tale of a terminally ill young woman, Susan Brems, who's beaten the odds so far but is losing a battle with a congenital condition known as VATERS Syndrome.

A benefit will be held for the Moline teen-ager at the Rock Island Eagles Club 5103 11th Street, beginning at noon today. (Sunday) Entertainment,raffles and a silent auction will be featured and all ages are welcome.

11 Comments:

At 3/04/2007 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the Dispatch were talkin here Dope! It's not exactly the Wall Street Journal.
They usaully get aced out of stories by the Times anyway.
Sensative they aint!

 
At 3/05/2007 2:24 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

It's not so much a matter of sensitivity as simply really bad writing... at least in that opening.

Tacking "... which is dying." to the end of that sentence is wrong on so many levels.

Not being a very good writer myself, I'm strapped to explain exactly why, but I know bad writing when I see it. (having read my own for some time)

Maybe someone else could explain why that sentence is so bad.

The fact remains that it's simply the way the sentence is constructed that's so abysmal, with something as serious as imminent death tacked on to the end in that tortured way. Ugh.

It's just weirdly convoluted.

 
At 3/05/2007 4:11 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Dope,
You really can't consider the Dispacth a real paper... I can't stand some of the stuff they do. Remember the time when Adrian Reynolds was murdered and their paper ran in about 172 size font the word DISMEMBERMANT across the front page. Then the next week they ran a front page story "Hookers can sue Pimps."

 
At 3/05/2007 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that was the point. I think maybe he was trying to make the point that she was dieing and that is one thing no 16 year old should be doing.

 
At 3/06/2007 6:26 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I should note that the D/A doesn't have the market on horrible writing sewn up.

The QC Times' Barb Ickes was nominated among a tough field for the year's worst writing by the prominent Manhattan media & culture website "Gawker" for her inane drivel written during the Kolb trial. Her prose was nominated for Gawker's "Great Moments in Jouralism 2006".

Here's the deathless prose which won Ickes such lofty attention:

"Adrianne's dad, Tony Reynolds, sat on the floor with us for a few minutes, reading the latest poem he'd written to her. All his poems began, "Roses are red, violets are blue."

We were on our third or fourth game when Tony wandered back over, leaned against the wall near the big row of windows, looked down at us and said, "Could whichever one of you loses help me change the oil in my Mustang?"
He was chewing gum when he said it, which only made it funnier to me.

He held a pink pillow, Adrianne's favorite color, and tried to hide how much his back hurt from sitting for days on the wooden benches inside the fifth-floor courtroom.

Tony's a truck driver. His daughter is dead.

And violets are blue."

It's not often that you get singled out from among tens of thousands of journalists nationwide for being among the very worst of the entire year's journalistic output.

The link to the honor, in which they described her writing as "downright creepy" can be found at:

http://www.gawker.com/news/great-moments-in-journalism/great-moments-in-journalism-no-hope-for-the-dead-199724.php

 
At 3/06/2007 1:37 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

Beyond the tortured sentence construction, it's an inappropriate, insincere attempt to tug on the heartstrings.

 
At 3/07/2007 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it true that poor Adrianna is buried here AND in Texas. I heard they split the body up. How horrid is that?

 
At 3/07/2007 3:25 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I've not heard that, and it sounds like an ugly rumor to me. I doubt very much that is the case.

Sounds like the product of someone's overactive imagination.

 
At 3/07/2007 10:17 PM, Anonymous Reeder reader said...

I would like to know if you people have heard of award winning reporter Scott Reeder who was up for a Pulitzer Prize last year. He works for the D/A and we should be glad to have him here on such a fine paper.

I think that bloggers are jealous of newspapers. There is room for you and the D/A Dope.

 
At 3/10/2007 9:14 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I trust that Reeder gets his facts straight better than you do. Perhaps you think that if you exagerate his accomplishments, he'll return the favor?

He's never been "up for" or nominated for a Pulitzer prize last year or any year, though he did receive many awards and citations for his reporting on tenured teachers in Illinois including a $10,000 payday for winning the 2006 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting.

Sorry you think there's some sort of jealousy between blogs and newspapers. You're basing that on...????

I see a lot of legitimate press criticism on blogs, which can't be considered jealousy.

But it's been my experience that newspapers tend to have a very dim view of blogs, with a clear resentment of the attention blogs draw, usually while trying to imitate them themselves. There's a very mixed attitude, as they're not sure whether they love blogs or hate them.

My experience with local reporters has been mixed, with most being friendly, helpful, and professional, and a couple being surly, rude, and dismissive.

As far as being jealous of print reporters, I'm not sure there's a lot to be jealous of, at least frm my point of view.

They work much harder, don't get paid enough, and have to operate in a sort of straightjacket as to what they can and can not write.

Not sure why I'd be jealous, really.

It would be great to be a well known and respected reporter I suppose, or to be in the thick of things and trying to dig up stories, but I've never harbored any illusions of ever doing that here, so jealous? Don't think so.

By the way, you don't have to tell me there's "room for blogs and the D/A". I kind of figured that before I even started TID.

There are some, including yourself evidently, who have constantly sent comments trying to portray things as some battle or competition between myself and local papers.

Papers might see it that way, but I've never thought that for a split-second.

Goofy people have tried to write stuff about how the paper is taking readers away from TID and similar crap, as if it was a zero sum game, as if a reader read the paper's blogs, they then couldn't read TID or visa-versa.

Needless to say, that's a very stupid way to think, as readers have the option to read anything they want.

Since day one here, I've encouraged others in their efforts to create blogs, I've always given them promotion and mentions when they've launched, and have shared advice and provided help to them in getting them up and running.

I think the more blogs the better, as it gives readers more choices and spurs more topics and more conversation and debate.

I've been sorry to see so many fold actually, though having been through it for two years, I certainly understand why many decide it's just not worth it.

An excellent blogger shut down his blog recently after being harrassed by powers that didn't like what he was saying.

The only reason I haven't done the same thing is that I'm just not the kind that runs when someone tries to bully me or push me around.

Everyone has a right to run a blog and to print the truth or their opinions, and no one is going to come along and try to strong-arm me from doing so simply because they don't like what I or others write here.

 
At 3/10/2007 9:41 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I trust that Reeder gets his facts straight better than you do. Perhaps you think that if you exagerate his accomplishments, he'll return the favor?

He's never been "up for" or nominated for a Pulitzer prize last year or any year, though he did receive many awards and citations for his reporting on tenured teachers in Illinois including a $10,000 payday for winning the 2006 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting.

Sorry you think there's some sort of jealousy between blogs and newspapers. You're basing that on...????

I see a lot of legitimate press criticism on blogs, which can't be considered jealousy.

But it's been my experience that newspapers tend to have a very dim view of blogs, with a clear resentment of the attention blogs draw, usually while trying to imitate them themselves. There's a very mixed attitude, as they're not sure whether they love blogs or hate them.

My experience with local reporters has been mixed, with most being friendly, helpful, and professional, and a couple being surly, rude, and dismissive.

As far as being jealous of print reporters, I'm not sure there's a lot to be jealous of, at least from my point of view.

They work much harder, don't get paid enough, and have to operate in a sort of straightjacket as to what they can and can not write.

Not sure why I'd be jealous, really.

It would be great to be a well known and respected reporter I suppose, or to be in the thick of things and trying to dig up stories, but I've never harbored any illusions of ever doing that here, so jealous? Don't think so.

By the way, you don't have to tell me there's "room for blogs and the D/A". I kind of figured that before I even started TID.

There are some, including yourself evidently, who have constantly sent comments trying to portray things as some battle or competition between myself and local papers.

Papers might see it that way, but I've never thought that for a split-second.

As a matter of fact, the papers were in touch with me a LOT when they started their own blogs, and I freely gave them all sorts of information, including my traffic figures, etc. We were in touch dozens of times and I never resented it.

On the occasions they'd bitch about this or that, such as the one or two times out of thousands where I'd inadvertently forget to provide a link to their story, I'd always respond and fix it.

Of course later, they pretty much turned on me and allowed totally unsupported personal smears to be posted in their forums including a person's name, which is beyond scummy, and then refused to pull them when asked (several other bloggers did so without even having to be asked.)

That's particularly telling, considering that I've never stooped to that level and wouldn't dream of doing so here, and in light of the fact that I've heard so much about how blogs are bad because they don't have the "standards" of newspapers.

Well, apparently they don't. They have higher standards, at least in that instance.

If I ever hear that "bloggers don't have the professional standards newspapers do" crap again, I'll laugh.

Then they got pissed off apparently, their blogs folded for the most part, and I haven't heard a thing since.

And here I was, being nice and deferential to them. Ah well.

Some goofy person has written comments many times about how the paper is taking readers away from TID and how we're in a "feud" and trying to create this false notion that we were in competition, as if it was a zero sum game. As if a reader read the paper's blogs or other blogs, they then couldn't read TID or visa-versa.

It obviously doesn't work that way.

Needless to say, that's a very stupid way to think, as readers have the option to read anything they want. If they read TID, they'll likely read the D/A if for no other reason than I often link to them. And if they read the D/A blogs, they'll likely check here as well.

Since day one here, I've never felt there was some sort of head to head competition. I've consistently encouraged others in their efforts to create blogs, I've always given them promotion and mentions when they've launched, and have shared advice and provided help to them in getting them up and running. I have friendly relationships with nearly all of them.

I think the more blogs the better, as it gives readers more choices and spurs more interesting conversations and debate.

I suppose it's like how fast food joints always seem to open up right next to each other. The more blogs a reader has to read, the better for everyone. They can start with one and then read all the others. More blogs equals more content equals more chance of reading something of interest to the reader.

I've been sorry to see so many local blogs fold actually, though having been through it for two years, I certainly understand why many decide it's just not worth it.

An excellent blogger shut down his blog recently after being harrassed by powers that didn't like what he was saying. He faced far, far less threats and harassment than I have, and decided it wasn't worth the stress and hassle. I was sorry to see them go, but certainly know what it's like.

The only reason I haven't done the same thing is that I'm just not the kind that runs when someone tries to bully, threaten, or push me around.

The way I see it, everyone has a right to run a blog and to print the truth or their opinions, as long as it stops short of libel or personal attacks with no evidence to back it up. No one is going to come along and try to strong-arm me from running a blog simply because they don't like hearing the truth about themselves or their pet projects or simply because they want to shut down anyone who expresses views that go against the image they want to project.

These are public officials and public projects, after all, and I find it hard to find some way to justify the things that they've done in order to silence factual reporting and honest opinion.

They have means of controlling papers, either by threats or blackmail or in the case of business interests, withdrawing advertising.

They have no such leverage here, and I think it freaks them out... well, I know it does.

So rather than dealing with me directly with some minimum of respect, they instead resorted to trying to push me around. Big mistake.

Anyway.... Reeder? Yeah, fine reporter, and will likely go far. A real pro.

Blogs jealous of newspapers? Definitely not.

 

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