Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Words without opinions

Les Carlyon, a former editor of the Age, sums up the problems of journalism (especially opinion pieces) the write stuff:

…The main troubles with journalism are sloppy writing and sloppy editing, advocacy masquerading as reporting, gossip masquerading as reporting, stories that abound in loose ends and cliches, stories that are half-right, stories that insult the reader's intelligence.

…When I started in journalism one of the worst jobs was reporting church sermons on Sunday. Eventually both Melbourne papers stopped reporting church sermons, and we all thought this was progress. Now we read sermons, terribly earnest, written on op-ed pages not by clerics but by journalists and academics, and I wonder whether this is progress. I saw a short piece in a Sydney paper recently that carried the byline of four academics. How did they do it? Did each of them write every fourth word?

This was based on a speech he gave for a lifetime achievement award at the Melbourne Press Club Quill awards. I wonder if Phillip Adams, Mike Carlton, et. al. were listening?