Why Computers Will Replace Humans Writing News
This is an AP story that's everything wrong with modern broadcast news:
MALAD, Idaho (AP) — An eastern Idaho sheriff's deputy investigating a crash scene on Interstate 15 sustained injuries along with two others when a tractor-trailer lost control and slid into the previous crash. Idaho State Police say Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy Justin Schwartz was transported Sunday to Portneuf Regional Medical Center in Pocatello.
Normal people don't grab a chair in a diner and say, "I sustained a wound while cleaning gutters"
As an old boss used to say about people being "transported" to the hospital, "Is Mr. Scott beaming them?" People are "taken" to hospitals. Also, how do you "sustain" an injury? Does that mean you work to maintain the pain? Normal people don't grab a chair in a diner and say, "I sustained a wound while cleaning gutters". "I got hurt when I fell off the ladder," is what they say. Can the tortured souls at AP just say a deputy got hurt when a truck skidded at the scene of an earlier accident? This isn't brain surgery by any means. We all talk conversationally but the guys at AP somehow can't put words to type the same way. Do they go through some sort of transmogrifying machine at the door when they get to work?
I've seen the research. People react more positively to news reported in plain English versus "cop-speak". Positive means they keep coming back. More ears and eyeballs means $$$.
A fellow I worked with in my television days once bemoaned a culture of “good enough” we’d seen sprout in the news business. It started with the cutbacks in staff sizes in the 1980s and continues today, although. Changing the way we write is akin to a ballplayer hitting .180 and changing his stance. In the beginning, it takes some extra effort, but within a couple of months when you’re batting .280, it pays off for the team and your own career.