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Local newspaper idiots.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Echo23TC, Sep 19, 2003.

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  1. Echo23TC

    Echo23TC Member

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    In an unfortunate incident, a local highschool student brought a handgun to school with bad intent the other day. Fortunately someone snitched and he was caught before he could do anything.


    BUT , the city paper reported that he had a "loaded .25-millimeter handgun" in his possesion.

    Think about that for a second. .25 millimeter. Get out a ruler and look at it. Does that seem WRONG, perhaps?

    Sigh.

    I'd write, but I don't believe it would do any good. Besides, the more they get wrong on things like that, the more people don't read them anyway, or take what they do read with a BIG grain of salt.

    Here's the link, if anyone cares to read it.
    http://www.helenair.com/articles/2003/09/19/helena_top/1a091903_01.txt

    What's that tagline from the StraightDope? "Fighting Ignorance since 1973 (It's taking longer than we thought!)"
     
  2. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    I don't think that caliber would be very dangerous :rolleyes:

    What was is loaded with, a grain of salt ??? :D
     
  3. RobW

    RobW Member

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    Having dealt with so called "journalists" for my former employer (gear shaping machine factory) I still wonder how they could get such a job.

    Even after hours of 101 explanation about the function of such a machine, they wrote totally nonsense. As it was a local paper, everybody working in the factory just got a fit of laughter.
     
  4. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    Yeah but think of the ammunition capacity. Man if the AWB goes away I've gotta get me a wunderpointtwofive with a 400 round magazine.
     
  5. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Yeah, we gotta get rid of that Salt Weapon Ban

    :D
     
  6. Unisaw

    Unisaw Member

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    Oh, no. Is this going to turn into a big/slow vs. small/fast debate? :D
     
  7. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    I have a degree in journalism and worked for a time as a reporter for a daily paper.

    Remember that a newspaper reporter, and especially a small-town newspaper, must be a jack of all trades. On Monday you're writing a crime story; Tuesday, a medical story. On Wednesday, maybe a court story, and on Thursday, a city council story. On Friday, maybe it's a pet feature.

    Now remember that the reporter is not a gun hobbyist, a cop, a doctor, a lawyer, an alderman or a veterinarian. She's an educated generalist, whose job it is to get the facts, try to learn enough to put them in perspective, explain the whole thing in writing, and get it in to the editor by 3:00.

    Ridiculing this reporter for her mistake is pretty pointless. I mean, you can feel smug and superior, but it doesn't help increase anyone's understanding or decrease anti-gun prejudice.

    Instead, try this. If you have any group affiliation (gun club, gun store, RKBA group, etc), call and send a letter explaining that you are so-and-so, that you have an interest in such-and-such, and are willing to be a quotable source involving events within your area of expertise.

    Or heck -- be really ambitious and write a one-page "novice's guide to gun terminology" that lays out common calibers and their relative size and effectiveness, defines "automatic," "semi-automatic," "assault weapon," etc. Put your number at the top, laminate it and suggest that the copy desk keep it around as a quick reference. (Stop by the library or a college book store and look at the "AP Style Guide" for formatting suggestions.)

    Yes, there are those with an anti-gun bias in the media (especially around here), but for the most part reporters DO want to get it right. So recognize their realistic limitations and try to help them overcome their ignorance in as nice a way as possible.

    Matt
     
  8. Keith

    Keith Member

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    There are Howda pistols with a one inch bore - 25 millimeters. I'd love to have one.

    Keith
     
  9. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Member

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    Okay Mpayne, even we concede your point, I have two questions.

    First, why are they untrainable? They keep making the same bone-headed mistakes, over and over again, even after being corrected by the public.

    Second, why are they inept in their own subject? I have never seen more errors in spelling and grammar than I have in the last couple of years. Is it always the typesetter's fault? Do all editors have the intelligence of mushrooms?

    Yeah...don't answer that last one.
     
  10. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

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    For those who hunt elephants with the .17HMR, perhaps?...:scrutiny:

    A call to the LEO's involved would have saved a lot of embarassment...:D
     
  11. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    Well, I don't think "they" are making the same mistakes over and over. This podunk town and its five reporters probably sees two local gun-related stories a year, so you might figure this reporter did her last gun story over a year ago. And we all know there are a myriad of errors to be made when reporting on the technical details of firearms.

    Well, maybe your proofreading skills have improved lately? :)

    The story in question seems gramatically and orthographically sound. Remember that we tend to fixate on that which sticks out, not that which blends in. Take your daily newspaper and a red pen and see how many mistakes you find in any one issue. I think you'll see that it's pretty good overall. Of course, as in all things, YMMV.

    Here in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune is often accused of being a left-leaning, liberal piece of birdcage liner. But I have to say, they spell things right, use proper grammar, and get technical details right in the vast majority of cases. (It helps that a large metro paper has one or two police-beat-only reporters who quickly learn the lingo.)

    This isn't a blanket defense; Newspapers, like all products, vary in quality, workmanship and attention to detail. And reporting, like any other profession, has the usual bell curve of superstars, solid performers and idiots.

    Matt

    (P.S. - Being a gun newbie, it's nice to get a chance to spout off about something I actually know something about! :))
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2003
  12. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    You have to remember that any gun cartridge with the name "millimeter" in the name is far more dangerous and deadly than the decimal calibers, because that's what the military uses.

    So my guess is the reporter added the "millimeter" word after the fact.


    One might expect a college educated journalist to know that .25 millimeter is about .01 inch, even if he/she knew nothing about guns.
     
  13. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Member

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    I think it's safe to say we all make stupid mistakes concerning things we are not overly familiar with.
     
  14. jerryd

    jerryd Member

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    Reporters

    I se this everyday in the papers,and it gets me upset! How could anyone write a story about something they have no clue about, can you imagine me a electrictian, writing about brain surgery? Give me a break, if i wired your house up wrong i dont think you would overlook it would you? The reporters have a job to inform the public of facts not opinions, all they do is confuse and misinform the people just like the politictians, am i not correct? Now that i said my piece lets see what other comments come in Jerry!
     
  15. iamkris

    iamkris Member

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    newspaper idiots

    Whooop, whooop, whooop -- redundancy alert
     
  16. CZ 75 BD

    CZ 75 BD Member

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    During the DC shootings...

    one of the info-babes said the .223 traveled at 3150 square feet per second.
     
  17. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Member

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    Mmmm...Infobabe *drool*

    I never pay attention to what they say.:D

    Oh, and Mpayne: what a well written and reasoned response to my sweeping generalizations. Are you sure you have a degree in journalism? :scrutiny:
     
  18. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    Did you read what I wrote at all? A reporter is a generalist who has to learn new subject matter every day. One day they might write about new advances in brain surgery; the next they may write an article about electrical wiring.

    I suppose that newspapers could hire electricians and brain surgeons and cops and lawyers and all, train them to write, and then keep them on staff in case a story broke in their subject area, but your newspaper subscription would cost about $149 per day.

    That's not to say that they never fail, or that they always do as good as they could, but imagine how well YOU would do writing a story about brain surgery!

    Matt
     
  19. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    Sure, but if you don't know what you're measuring, maybe it's reasonable. Isn't cartridge brass about .25mm thick?

    I would guess she thought the words "millimeter" and "caliber" were interchangable. After all, when we hear about guns, they are always "38 caliber" or "9 millimeter" or something. How would a non-gun person know that some cartridge sizes are metric and other English?

    This reporter should have asked someone if she didn't understand. The problem is, she didn't know what she didn't know.

    Matt
     
  20. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    Yes, but I'm feeling much better now. :)
     
  21. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Of course, when people are studying (and colleges are teaching) journalism, it never even occurs to them that they might one day be required to write an article about criminal activity that involves firearms.
     
  22. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    <sarcasm>
    Sure -- just use the Encyclopedia Brittanica as a Journalism syllabus, and they should be pretty much covered!
    </sarcasm>

    Step outside of your own little world for a moment. Guns are central to your life, but are off most people's radar.

    Besides, you knew exactly what gun she was talking about. So get over it.

    Matt
     
  23. Quartus

    Quartus Member

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    Mpayne, is it too much to ask that they simply report facts as the are given them? (I'd be VERY surprised if that reporter was told it was a .25 millimeter. )



    Apparently so.
     
  24. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Journalists .... :rolleyes:
     
  25. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Speaking strictly as a guy who's been making his living writing and editing since 1966, I can truthfully tell you copy editing and proofreading are almost lost arts.
     
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