Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Poor news writing red-flags credibility

Plagued with unpolished grammar skills and a tabloid penny press style of yore, many high profile news sources have lost their luster.

What happened to good writers and valid journalism?

For many people, their first brush with the day is a review of the morning news
"On an average day, 31.99 million American college graduates read newspaper content online or offline." ( Add to that the large majority who can read without college degrees, and it's obvious news is popular. (The article, "stigma of ignorance is rampant without higher education" is for another time.) 

Today’s plethora of print and online news sources however, are diluted with articles disguised as journalism. "News" is often culled from agencies that feature writers without credentials or real-world industry experience.

Infiltrating the ranks of established journalists are ill-equipped writers who rely more on opinions than facts, and eschew professional editing (or opt for none). Likewise, op-eds, obscure blogs, and personal essays, have moved from the back pages to become front page “news.”

Online news aggregates, citizen news sites, and lifestyle publications masquerading as news, are especially guilty of this, with skillful presentation, gaining high readership. Unfortunately, articles are often published without vetting to weed out marginal or even spurious writers. Though many production-article writers may be credible and experienced journalists, those who are not, further decay the industry.

How to spot the aggregates … I, we, you vs. he, she, it …

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anyone can write a book ~ What are you waiting for?

Memories and attitude make us uniquely human.
Writing them down is what sets us apart as individuals. ~ LinDee Rochelle

Were you teased as a youngster for writing in your “diary” or keeping a “journal”? Did your little brother break the lock and read it? (Like mine did.) Did you dig out your old ones recently, and think, wow, I had some great ideas … maybe I can update them …?

Writing is often one of those “love / hate” human practices. I truly believe it’s an innate trait in order to love it. While you may be in the class that fairly abhors it, you can make it work to your advantage – and you might find you can tolerate the process to express yourself, if not outright learn to enjoy it.

Those who kept the once-ubiquitous diary or journal have a head start, for sure. But what did we write? Memories and attitudes. 

It was interesting research, reading the various “expert” opinions about any differences between a diary and a journal. 

“When I was a kid” (I know young’uns hate that preface), the perceived (pre-teen) notion of a diary was something giggly girls kept about their inane daily experiences, in gushy, blushing prose. A journal was a scientist’s or other professional’s experimental log or recording of a journey (think Captain Kirk’s Star Trek logs); and young guys simply didn’t write. (You realize, I hope, this is tongue-in-cheek, with a chuckle. But I'm serious about your book.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

There is a Season ... turn, turn, turn ...

Mmmmm, I can almost smell the pumpkin drifting on a light summer breeze. 

Oh ... wait ... of course I can – they're already moldering at the store!

Yes, once again, commercialism jumps the gun – or rather points it at us and says, “Buy! Buy now! Before it’s too late!” Sigh. (And I mean "points it at us" in the most benign way – that I even need to explain it provokes another heavy sigh.)

So the stores roll the pumpkins into the aisles halfway through summer, when absolutely NO ONE wants to think about Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Some retailers barely acknowledge those two esteemed holidays, throwing us directly into Santa’s path for Christmas. Agh!!

Well, now, we finally hit the “Sacred first day of Consumerism” – the Fall Equinox. I say, let’s stop to smell the sweet, sticky scent of pumpkin pies and enjoy the short season of Fall, before fall-ing prey to visions of candy canes dancing in our heads.

What are PenQuips?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New PFP Feature: PenQuips!

Let me introduce you to Penchant for Penning's fun new "PenQuips"!

Definition: A PenQuip is 1) a picture and heading combination appropriate to the theme of a brief text anomaly quoted from the Internet; or,
2) a picture and heading combination with your own amazing, brief text of wit, opinion, fact, or (gasp!) wisdom.

PenQuips are my eccentric way of exploiting dumb public comments that illustrate society’s current lack of intelligent thought. Sigh … we have not progressed much past the Dark Ages. Yes, I fear we are headed in the same direction as that of the Roman Empire.

While we could expound at length about the whys and wherefores of modern society’s decline, let’s face it. Humanity has never been particularly peaceful and in my humble opinion, wars are just plain dumb.

Bottom line, we are ruled by Greed, Money, Power, Sex, and Violence. Not always in that order. And each category has its own set of dumb. So we have an infinity of fodder to fossilize in PenQuips.

How I began PenQuips: The Dumbing-Down of America ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Danger! 3rd Party Data Sharing Threatens Little Red Riding Hood!

We may share your personal information …
In the war over our privacy rights, many people fail to remember that companies are not blindfolded superficial entities. They can be hundreds, thousands, to tens of thousands people deep.

No, businesses do not simply handle your information in the manner prescribed through their verbose privacy policies. And people are the bane of privacy rights.

Nothing about our privacy is simple, and company policies are anything but user friendly. Intended to explain the companies’ responsibility of use and ultimately relieve them of misuse, privacy policies are akin to the danger of a wolf in sheep’s clothing – and we are Little Red Riding Hood.