June 12th, 2008

It’s really too early for this, and I need to get my breakfast, but I feel a desperate need to rant about this ridiculous non-article. It’s not attributed to any agency or journalist, so I’m going to assume it’s another step in the NZ Herald’s rapid downward slide to cheap and nasty tabloid status. The headline screams:

Thai protests turn deadly

And then the article, which consists of three sentences each masquerading as a paragraph (do we really need to ship the entire Herald staff over to Beijing to sit in on my writing classes?) says:

Thousands of truckers went on a half-day strike in Thailand yesterday demanding government help against rising fuel prices, the latest in a series of protests that have swept across the globe.

In Europe, two truck drivers were killed on picket lines in Spain and Portugal.

With United States petrol prices setting records, presidential nominee John McCain’s fellow Senate Republicans blocked a move by Democrats to impose a windfall profit tax on American oil giants, a vote likely to play into the hands of Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.

And that’s it. The whole non-article. But how does this relate to the headline? Sure, Thai protests are mentioned, but the only thing “deadly” in this non-article is the deaths of two truck drivers on picket lines in Spain and Portugal (note to NZ Herald staff: Look at a world map. Spain and Portugal are a long, long, long way from Thailand). And then it somehow swings to American politics. And each of those three sentences is only tangentially related to each other. But what’s worse, and what would definitely get a very failing grade if any of my students turned this in, is that there isn’t the slightest bit of depth to it at all. Each of those three sentences could serve as the topic sentence of a paragraph (note to NZ Herald staff: Open a dictionary. Check the words ‘sentence’ and ‘paragraph’. Note that they are not the same), meaning each of these three sentences needs to be backed up by several more sentences offering a more detailed explanation of the events.

Rant 完了.

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