In the context of this monthly series, this post is less of a ‘how to’ and more of a call to arms.
In season five of the brilliant television drama The Wire much of the action is set inside the newsroom of a fictional version of The Baltimore Sun. On a number of occasions we see journalists and editors debating nuances of argument, word choice and grammatical accuracy. It’s a nod to the seemingly old-fashioned idea that getting the words right actually matters.
Sadly, if many of today’s newspapers are anything to go by, the pace and pressure associated with survival in the modern media environment have put paid to this dedication to accuracy. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t find at least one blatant typo in our paper – usually more – along with a missing or duplicated line or an obvious hole in an argument.
However, there is one area of writing in which ‘getting it right’ still matters: the book.