June 2, 2008

journalism vs. blogging

Given the recent layoffs at the Washington Post, conversations about blogs replacing journalism -- and bloggers replacing journalists -- continue to escalate. Uh huh. Like that's going to happen. Blogs may be fine for junk news, but I continue to believe that when it comes to real news, Americans prefer that it come from people who know how to spell, punctuate, and think.

Two examples, the first from my friend Nancy, who e-mailed yesterday to say she found the following statement online: "Another set of parents did not share our say la vee attitude."

I think I'll get lapel pins made: Say "La vee" (in bright red letters). A testament to the need for educated and informed writers, journalists and editors.

The second example is one I tripped over on a freelance writing website this morning. Here's the full sentence: "So go ahead, break a rule once and awhile."

Impressive, huh? Not only has the blogger committed a comma splice -- a misdeed for which college freshmen are routinely given a failing grade -- but"once and awhile"? Somehow I expect more than a passing familiarity with the English language from the writers I read, and more than once in a while.

These problems are nothing new. Nationally syndicated columns have been capturing usage errors for decades. The difference is the proliferation as more and more bloggers commit more and more errors. Yes, language is constantly changing, but it changes toward greater simplicity and greater clarity, not toward more, and more flagrant, mistakes.

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