#554

When a powerful upward draft reaches the top of the lower atmosphere, or troposphere, it will normally flatten and spread out to form that classic anvil shape.

BBC News Online, March 27, 2021 

This would be ok in America, but in British English, a draft is a preliminary piece of work or a money order. The spelling wanted here is draught.

#553

The latest food recall comes from supermarket giant Tesco who is recalling one of their cheeses.

Daily Express, January 16, 2021

I’ve just come across this object lesson in not mixing singular and plural. It can be hard to decide whether a firm or group of some sort is singular or plural but you need to make a choice and stick to it. I can only presume that the numbskull who wrote this does not understand the difference.

It is not necessary to prefix Tesco with ‘supermarket giant’. I am confident that anyone who can read will know that Tesco is not a firm of accountants.

As an example of the sort of rubbish that is now considered acceptable journalism, here is the full story as it appeared online, complete with repetitions and veering into a different topic. As a bonus, it contains information that it is unsafe to eat food items containing pieces of metal.

Tesco issues urgent recall on cheese amid Listeria contamination fears

TESCO is recalling one of its cheeses because it contains Listeria monocytogenes and the warning was issued by the Food Standards Agency.

Food recalls are issued when a discovery is made or there are safety issues surrounding a product that might endanger the consumer. The latest food recall comes from supermarket giant Tesco who is recalling one of their cheeses.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has shared the details on the food item which is being recalled.

It states: “Tesco is recalling Tesco Finest Taleggio 200g because it contains Listeria monocytogenes.”

The use by date which customers need to check for is January 25, 2021.

All batch codes are affected and consumers are being warned not to eat this product.

Some people are extremely vulnerable to Listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies as well as babies less than one month old.

People with weakened immune systems are also more at risk of the infection.

The FSA added: “Symptoms caused by this organism can be similar to flu and include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.”

What should customers do if they have this item in their fridge?

Some people are extremely vulnerable to Listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies as well as babies less than one month old.

People with weakened immune systems are also more at risk of the infection.

The FSA added: “Symptoms caused by this organism can be similar to flu and include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.”

What should customers do if they have this item in their fridge?

“However, fish sauce is not labelled as an ingredient on tesco.com.

“As a result, this product is temporarily unavailable.

“All products purchased in-store have the correct labelling, so this issue only affects tesco.com.”

Tesco are working with their supplier to understand which batch was last affected and once this is established, the product will be available to purchase online again.

What should customers do if they have this product?

The supermarket advises those who don’t eat fish to check the ingredients listed on the packaging. 

“These are correct and will list fish sauce, if it is present,” Tesco said.

Food recalls from other retailers are also in place.

Sainsbury’s is recalling its Plant Pioneers 6 Caramelised Onion Shroomdogs because they may contain pieces of metal.

The presence of metal makes this product unsafe to eat and while the use by date affected is between January 6 and January 7, customers should check if they have this product in their freezer.

No other products from the brand are affected.

 

 

#552

i newspaper, February 22, 2021

One surefire way of ensuring that 99.9 per cent of readers ignore a story is to put the name of a small Essex town into the headline. What possible interest could it be to anyone who does not live in Brentwood? You just do not do it. You might get away with London, Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham but that is about it, and then only if it is really necessary.

This is one of the first things I was taught as a trainee sub-editor. It is not some idiosyncrasy but obvious common sense. Is there any training at all now, or can anyone call him or herself a sub-editor and take money under false pretences?

 

#551

The Times, December 19, 2020

Fictional means that it appears in a work of fiction, eg ‘the fictional Sherlock Holmes’.  The word wanted here is ‘fictitious’ which means made up, eg ‘he gave the ticket inspector a fictitious address’.

#550

Times, November 27, 2020

Times, November 27, 2020

What an embarrassment, as usual attributed to an ‘editing error’. Unless newspaper production has changed out of recognition in the six or seven years since I was employed, the heading would have been written by a sub-editor, revised (therefore accepted) by a senior sub, approved by a sub who supervises the production of the page, the editor of the gardening section, and the editor of the Weekend section, any of whom could have introduced the error and must surely bear responsibility for the result (cue frantic buck-passing). That means that up to five national newspaper journalists, supposedly the creme de la creme, were unaware of this schoolboy error. I am guessing that the average age of these employees is about 23 but I bet they all have first-class degrees from Oxbridge.

 

#549

i newspaper, November 19, 2020

(51 words) Here’s a guessing game. You are the sub handling this story and you need a headline. Given that the purpose of a headline is to attract readers to the story, what would be the most attention-grabbing line you could think of? The chilli sauce? The age of the victim?

This is what the sub came up with:

I laughed aloud when I saw it. There is even room on the top line for chilli.

That’s just the start. Court reports should state the name of the court, the charge and the plea. It is usual to give an indication of where the defendant is from.

This is how I would have done it:

Robber jailed for chilli
attack on woman, 90

A serial robber who broke into a 90-year-old Birmingham woman’s house and sprayed her face with hot chilli sauce has been jailed for nine years at the city’s Crown Court. Mohammed Nawaz, 52, of no fixed address, admitted attempted robbery and administering a noxious substance. He has 36 previous convictions. (50 words)

#548

Times, November 7, 2020

Another example of ignorance of the natural world which is endemic among young subs (they seem to think it is a demerit to know anything): a rodent is a class of mammal which encompasses the capybara at 4ft 6in long and the pygmy jerboa at less than 2in long. This is as stupid as saying ‘a fish-sized’ or ‘a reptile-sized’ animal.

 

#547

i newspaper, October 7, 2020

You are the sub handling this story. I will assume you are aware that ‘Ann’ and ‘Anne’ are alternative spellings, otherwise you have no business in journalism. You see the name Anne Cryer. Do you think:

a)  I have never heard of her so I had better look up the spelling of her name, it will take only a few seconds and I want to get it right.

b) Hmm, I vaguely remember her but I am not sure if she is Anne or Ann, I had better look it up.

c) Who cares? It’s near enough and I am certainly not about to look it up.

The answer has got to be c. I would say you have no business in journalism.

While I am writing, I am constantly seeing ‘Back in . . .’ and ‘Way back in . . . ‘ Neither is necessary. Anyone capable of reading a news report will be able to work out that 2004 is before now.

 

 

#546

I have collected these picture captions over the last few weeks. Spot a pattern?

It can be generally assumed that a story is about people. If it is about dogs, snakes or giraffes you would say so. It is also the most unimaginative way to start a caption. It is saying to the reader ‘I can’t be bothered to do anything but tell you what you can see with your own eyes.’ There is almost always a better word than ‘people’, for example in the Times caption bottom right, you could have said ‘Swimmers’ or ‘Bathers’.  (The top right caption uses ‘bathers’ but spoils it by adding ‘in the sea’. Where else would they be?)

The top three captions employ a construction I dislike, present tense followed by ‘yesterday’. This can be avoided by using the present participle which ends in ‘ing’, so ‘basking’ instead of ‘bask’.

Captions don’t need to be complete sentences either. Just to take the top left one as an example, it could have been:

Keeping cool in the sunshine, punters on the Cam in Cambridge yesterday

 

(Don’t use River unless it is necessary.)

 

 

#545

i newspaper, September 7, 2020

The convention is that a man who comes under the general heading of ‘celebrity’ is called by the surname without the honorific. The only exception is if he is involved in legal proceedings. If the ‘celebrity’ is a woman, it depends on the kind of story. If this one had been about Serena Williams instead of Marcus Rashford, she would be Williams, not Ms or Miss Williams. However if the story was about her tennis outfit, for example, some outlets would call her ‘Serena’.