I've finally finished coding the articles for my thesis. Only x amount of weeks too late (the deadline for the thesis as a whole is on Thursday).
I had some very annoying and frustrating revelations while doing this. A part of the articles for my thesis are supposed to come from the web versions of two Swedish newspapers. So far so good.
The problem is that while one of them are good at archiving their old articles, the other seems to be happily deleting old articles and leaving only those that make them look good. Not to mention the fact that articles on the web (as opposed to those that go into print) can be edited and changed well after their newsworthiness has disappeared.
Which means that for me, who are looking for problems with language and grammar, the results of my coding of those articles are haphazard at best.
I happen to know that the latter of the two newspapers is in fact quite lousy where language and grammar is concerned... to the point that I've, on several occasions while reading articles their reporters have written, found myself with an almost desperately urgent need to track down the reporters, grab them by the hair and stuff some grammar books and books on proper writing (and spelling) into various orifices of their body. I'm sure they've had a field day going back and correcting stuff that most likely looked like shit in the original version.
Indeed, the development of web publishing has got to be their greatest joy ever, since then they can gloss over their horrid mistakes and the readers, unless they've been smart and taken screen shots of the original version, will be none the wiser. Oh joy, a way for the media to pretend they're above such menial faults such as bad spelling or lack of facts. After all, if the original text isn't there, or has been exchanged for a corrected version..., no one can call them on their mistakes and they can carry on befouling (yeah, sorry for using such a word) the language, which is already fighting for its every breath.
It makes me wonder why on earth it's so hard for us fresh journalists (and journalism students) to get a foot into the media. Are they happier keeping blasé oldies just because they seem to have "experience" (which, by the way, is quite a loose word nowadays concerning the speed of the changes in the world) instead of bringing in fresh blood?
What does it say for a newspaper's reputation that they rather keep reporters that are illiterate, or seriously won't give a shit about how the readers see their articles, than take in fresh ones with new points of views and energy?
It makes me so frustrated. And all the while this particular newspaper I'm thinking of claims to have one of the best web-editions in Sweden, of being in the forefront of web journalism. They conveniently choose to disregard the fact that their archive system is a mess, which makes it nearly impossible to actually find anything, or that the knowledge of proper spelling and grammar among their journalists could easily be breached by a grade school kid.
I could go on for hours about this, although hopefully with a bit more... detail and language variation, but my head is about to blow up due to annoyance, stress and sheer resignation.
Where is the world headed when people in the media who, at least in my opinion, should set a certain standard where writing and language is concerned, set such bad examples? It's like they're callously saying: "Well, the world's a bitch anyway, and you morons wouldn't know what was right or wrong even if we spelled it out for you, so fuck off!"