Just A Little Grammar Please

I’m as mad as Hell and I’m just not going to take this anymore, yelled fictional television news director Howard Beale lamenting the state of electronic journalism in the Oscar Award winning 1976 movie Network.

The portrayal of Beale by Peter Finch won Oscar acclaim not only as best actor and actress, but supporting actor and top screenplay but Finch died before he was able to receive the award.

While he encouraged television journalists to yell the sentence out the window in support of improving the product some four decades later there’s still plenty of reason to encourage such participation but not necessarily about just the state of electronic journalism.

It is the misuse of the King’s English that drives me to the point of throwing whatever is near-by rather than throw open a window after standard fare routinely reveals a lack of knowledge in even writing a sentence.

I am not by any means an English scholar and readily admit there probably is a grammatical error in this feature but having been a spontaneous participant with the written word for the last forty years, I can tell you I work at it and appreciate when such errors are pointed out.

The problem is there are fewer and fewer copy editors that turn an adequate sentence to a string of words that not just help tell the story but make a line of news hum.

From a person who has published a trio of books on University of Montana football history I would be the first to tell you I am my own worst editor and readily reach out to get that necessary assistance.

I was fortunate enough in my early days at the Missoulian in the early 90’s to be contacted by Nathaniel Blomberg, the noted former J-School dean whose UM tenure lasted 35 years would more than nudge me revealing that my grammar or punctuation had failed, thereby encouraging me to produce more succinct copy.

In his inaugural call I didn’t know who the former Rhodes Scholar was – I learned quickly that his participation was a compliment – I wasn’t so sure.

And while there had been others – The dean of my J-School was noted humorist and satirical author Pat McManus – but certainly no one like Blomberg.

While leaving it like this – Folks the word Media is plural and followed please by a verb. You know the media are.

That misuse along will cause something nearby to be tossed in the direction of the television screen.

Just sayin.



You May Also Like

More From Author