Tuesday, February 13, 2007

New sports paper could use a good editor

There is a stereotype in media circles that broadcast journalists are not great writers; that they are good at talking their way through a piece but lousy at spelling and punctuation. I know some electronic journalists who are fabulous writers, but there is some truth to this notion. And The Sports Page, a new publication, bears this out. Owned by Carl Lake, a former TV sports broadcaster with CBC, it is plagued by poor writing, bad punctuation and sloppy design.

The Sports Page is a monthly eight-page tabloid that is distributed free of charge in the St. John’s area.

While the layout is haphazard and inconsistent, I could forgive that if there was something here worth reading. Alas, it sounds like the ‘writer’ of the articles – and Lake is not the only contributor – has dictated the story into a tape machine, then had it transcribed by someone with dubious knowledge of the English Language.

Read this paragraph, from the first issue, and try to figure out what it means:

< The night before I spoke with Geri, Ian was inducted into the Mount Pearl Sports Hall of Fame as a builder for his dedication and tireless work with the Mount Pearl Minor Hockey Association, Geri presented her husband for induction and the joke Ian made was that he had to have her do it so he could ensure she would be there and not the Fog Devils hockey game. >

Painful! And there is this sentence from the same article, which screams to be fixed:

< She says she tries as much as she can, as a Fog Devil parent, to do as much as she can with Ryan and not leave it as much to the association, it is there for him, they have a great system set up whereby they have drivers that will pick them up and take them to classes, take them to practice etc, however, Geri drives Ryan to MUN three mornings a week on her way to work because it makes sense to her to do that. >

This lead (or lede, for purists) from another story is the literary equivalent of nails scratching the blackboard:

< It’s basically out with the old and in with the new. The times have started changing.

Two venues in St. John’s have changed their name reflecting, what many see as, a necessity in these changing times.

Sports Organizations, and many will back this statement up, need help from the corporate community to survive. That’s no secret.

Well for many years it was known as the Prince of Wales Arena. However things have now changed. >

One can safely infer, from this intro, that something has changed.

In the second issue, Alex J. Walling, author of the book “Golden Gushue” (Nimbus), offers a rambling, almost incomprehensible account of how the book came to be. A better question would have been why the book happened at all, given the shoddy writing here. It also reads like an interview transcript. If this is the case, then the lack of editing does Walling a disservice. Check out this excerpt:

< But the publishers were after, not so much the competitive curlers, but rather the people across Newfoundland and this country who took in the Olympics. The example would be one can get a five star dinner at a great restaurant but this book and plenty of pictures is geared for McDonalds. Who sells more meals and attracts more families than anyone in North America? >

The Trivia Guy piece by Steve O’Brien is not bad, but there is precious little else to get excited about. Sports fans who are looking for more local content, and don’t care about the quality of what they read, will enjoy this publication. The rest of you should take a pass.

Note: You can download all three issues of the publication here: http://www.sportsphonenf.com/

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