Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Punctuation fail

Here's another of those occa- sional cases in which it seems well to listen to the rigid prescriptivists. Quick, what's your first reading of this hed?

I got more or less what I'd get from "Victories give Red Sox hope," where the order of the two objects is pretty much interchangeable:

Give me the ball

Give the ball to me

Make sense? A version of something is being given to some parents? Well, if you've been keeping up with this tale (and when Fox starts showing an interest in your local news, that's a sign), you know better. What's being given is the parents' version, and it would have taken the square root of no time at all for someone to put an apostrophe in the hed and made the point clear. Sheez.

I am somewhat annoyed at this juncture, because editors are still losing jobs. The people whose job it is to make small and quick and obvious fixes like this, along with the vast array of other, subtler, more complicated stuff they do, are being "involuntarily separated" from news organizations even as we speak.* The people who sign, or used to sign, their paychecks are making those decisions because they're convinced the audience doesn't care -- it hasn't yet reached the threshold where it's going to stop providing eyeballs to advertisers out of disdain for sheer technical ineptitude. That's not very promising in the long term, and in the short term, it simply sucks.

* This is not an exaggeration.

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

That's really the only reading.

Sure, it's prescriptive, but it's SPELLING. If we don't agree how to spell words, we'll never know what anybody means. Humpty-Dumpty semantics, here we come...

12:58 PM, October 20, 2010  

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