I missed being at the doubled up JEGS Sportsnationals but kept track of it online and it sounded like a pretty wet week. My congrats go out to the winners of both the Sportsnationals and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series divisional. I’m sure it
tried the patience of everyone there.
Now for this… Admittingly, I’m a television junkie. There aren’t too many times when I’m in my office, at a race in the motorhome when the TV isn’t on. Sometimes it’s on just for noise, not exactly watching anything of great importance. I’m certainly not a Learning Channel, Discovery, History channel; although there are some great shows from time to time on them I’ll watch. Most times it’ll be glued to old reruns or movies I’ve watched what seems like dozens of times. What bothers me around this time of year is that every show seems to be a rerun. In that regard – and I apologize for it – here’s a Blog I wrote over two years ago but it is just as important a message today as it did back then.
There’s a saying that “Art is in the eye of the beholder.” And actually, journalism is a form of art. I have been accused (not in a bad way) that I write the way I talk. Having been on several stages in front of a crowd at one time or another, I really believe I write better than I talk, but that’s another story. The truth is that I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to write. Yes, there are some basic rules, but once they’re followed, the rest is open to interpretation in my mind.
I had a managing editor years ago who would change my words of a story. She felt as if they were better written in her own way. Granted she probably spent more time in a journalism class than I did, after all, most of my time in a journalism class was spent with my head in a car magazine. But I’m thinking if my 9th grade English teacher Mrs. DaCosta, knew what I was doing now, she’d be beating my knuckles with a ruler (you could do that back then). So if my time spent in a journalism class was better spent in other areas, I still subscribe to the notion of “common sense,” no matter what I do. However, oftentimes the ME would change the actual context of the story, to which we had several “discussions.”
Here’s a fact as far as I’m concerned. The Holy Bible was written, what, like centuries ago? Since that time, there have been numerous versions written and re-written many times over. In each version, I’m sure it made the read easier for our day and age. The way people spoke centuries ago, is not the way we speak today. I’m sure each new version didn’t change the actual facts of the story, but it made it easier to understand.
I used to have an art professor from a local college come into my shop and dig through our scrap bin. She’d then have us weld together some of these pieces which she’d call structural art. I had other names for it but I was amazed to attend one of her art symposiums where people would ogle at the pieces and try to imagine what they represented. Me? I knew what they represented – junk – but to each his own.
One of my kids had an art teacher who would often tell him or her; although it had to be “her” as she still is very “artsy;” that what she did was wrong. What we tried to explain was there really is no right or wrong in art. It is what you make of it. I look at journalism as the same way. Okay, so there are the basics, but generally speaking, it’s still art. Placing quote marks in the correct spot, punctuation and the use of the correct grammar, correct spacing and other typographical checks are just some of the basics. After that…
In addition, I believe we need to write to our audience. In our case, the majority of our readers are not philosophical doctorates of the English language. I guarantee if we wrote like that, you would have put this down after the first paragraph. We don’t call a time slip a “slip of paper with your times on it,” nor do we say you’ve “entered the starting line area ready to race.” If you’re pulling to the starting line, we’re assuming you’re ready to race. Duh. “I speak your language cause I is one.” That’s probably not grammatically right but… Have a great day! -John DiBartolomeo
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