Monday, January 6, 2014

Some People Just Shouldn't Write

There are many things I have to say about the University of Michigan's student run paper known as "The Michigan Daily". Most of my thoughts are filled with disappointment and disgust. Maybe it wasn't always as terrible as is it has become, maybe when it first started out it was actually a great place to work. But now the entire thing just makes my heart sink.

Here's what I know about the Michigan Daily - It was founded in 1890. As far as I know they never charge people for their newspaper, so that's pretty cool. The content is usually always interesting and I love doing the crossword puzzles (even if I never finished all of them). So the newspaper has/had potential when I first heard about it as a student at U of M. I was also so excited I nearly peed my pants when I found out that Arthur Miller had worked for the paper! Some of the staff even went on to win pulitzers (but of course no one has won one since Jeremy Peters in 2000/2001).

In my mind I had started to build up a fantasy of what I thought the news room would look like, and what the staff might be like. I know it's all student run but in my mind I imagined smart, sophisticated students writing and editing the paper. You can imagine how huge my disappointment was in 2011 when I actually entered the Michigan Daily room for the first time. I expected desks with computers and lots of paper or pictures (basically I pictured the Daily Planet from Superman). Instead, there were empty tables and chairs scattered everywhere with a few student owned laptops on them. There were people just hanging out and not appearing to be doing any work at all. They were lounging on couches, eating, throwing things, and listening to awful music. Some people were even watching stupid videos on YouTube.

Everyone was acting so immature and childish, the place was a mess. I had expected so much more from Arthur Miller's legacy. There was paper everywhere and the "conference rooms" looked like a disaster. The whole experience made my teeth clench and my head hurt. My dream had been to enter a miniature version of a real, professional news room. Instead it was college Hell. I wanted to have an experience that I could write on a resume for a job application, and I wanted an experience that would be similar to what it might be like to write for the news in the real world. Instead I got handed a big pile of crap. I don't want to say that everyone there sucks because some people actually wrote some pretty good articles and/or took some awesome photos for the paper. But a majority of the "staff" seemed like they just wanted to get paid for hanging out and doing nothing.

The biggest complaint that I have about the Michigan Daily is the copy editors. Or whoever it is that is in charge of checking for spelling/grammar errors. Obviously fact checking and checking for plagiarism isn't that hard to do. But if you can't even notice an error as simple as "none" instead of "no one" then why the hell are you in editing? There were also a couple of times when the paper was printed and the editors failed to notice that the story was just cut off. One time I was reading an article about the Italian Cruise Ship that tipped over and it just ended right in the middle of the sentence. How did nobody catch that?

There are so many other things I have to say and experiences that I have to talk about but I'll save those for next time. Right now I just want to leave you with some of the idiotic examples I found of poor editing in the Michigan Daily.

This first mistake pretty much speaks for itself. Who would have thought to use spell check before publishing a Newspaper for College students?

This one is actually two different stupid errors next to each other. The one on the left (which I realize might be kind of hard to read) is known as "The Corrections Column". Notice the circled word...while apologizing for misspelling someone's name, somebody failed to spell "representative" correctly. The little snippet on the right shows one of several occasions in which the staff of the Michigan Daily used the word "lullabyes" instead of "lullabies". It's only basic English to know that the plural of something like "lullaby" would have an -ies on the end of it. Example: "try" becomes "tries". Even now as I type this the word "lullabyes" has little red squiggle marks under it. I just don't know how they could have repetitively missed this error. 

Anyway, I have more that I can tell you but for now I'll just bid adieu. Until next time.  


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