Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wrist is on Backorder

Let me start by saying that I am not a journalist. I don't pretend to be one. I can, however, write (or so I think). My expertise is more in the organizational communication arena, but I love to comment whenever possible on stories I see in the news.

I love to read my local newspaper because it tells me what's going on and what has happened in my town. I also love it because it is probably the most poorly written paper I have ever seen. I want to give it to students here at SBU and tell them to rewrite it. SBU has an amazing student newspaper. This paper cannot even hold a candle to it. I don't want to mention the name of my local paper, but the astute reader could likely figure it out.

I particularly like to find articles that make me laugh when I shouldn't.

Point 1:
A few years ago, a colleague/friend and I read an article in the newspaper about a resident with a kidney disease. Now, the story itself is not the least bit funny. It was quite touching and warm. The wording, however, was beyond compare. Describing the kidney disease could have been done by simply stating that the (insert name of diseease here - I don't remember it) usually causes kidney failure. The writer decided instead to state that the (disease) causes the kidneys to shrivel up and die.

While that may be true, come on. We still laugh about that. In fact, we cut the article out and had it hanging in our office for some time.

Point 2:
A resident is an Iraqi war veteran. He lost a leg, arm and shoulder in Iraq. Once again, a story that is not funny. It is tragic. His fiance, family, and the town are incredibly supportive of him (a reason I love small town America). The writer of the piece was apparently charged with describing how his life has changed and what he is going through. She decided to give a more than detailed account of the type of prosthetic devices he could choose from, the problems with each, and the manufacturers instructions (or so it seemed). I have a degree in science and even I didn't know what the hell she was talking about. But, alas, no matter what he chooses, our poor war veteran won't be able to use his prosthetic arm just yet because his "wrist is on backorder."

I kid you not.

While that may be true, I am sure it could have been worded differently or omitted altogether. I am glad it wasn't because I will laugh about that one for some time.

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