30 April 2008

Errant apostrophes and reporters

(pre-empting this week's media diet entry here)

I've just watched this week's episode of The Apprentice and you will not be surprised to know that a) I was appalled that it took more than 3 hours to figure out the answer to the Great Apostrophe Debate and b) that I wasn't really that stunned that none of them knew the answer apart from Raef.

What was gobsmacking was the decision to ring the subs' desk at the Telegraph. As if the subs would have time to help out someone ringing on the offchance... Michael's team, if they'd had any nous, could have looked on the internet. Googling "apostrophe help" brings up this site at the top of the page. It's not rocket science - either googling or the apostrophe.

Meanwhile, over in Ambridge, how very disappointing to see yet another stereotypical hack being trotted out by the scriptwriters. If you don't listen to The Archers, the short version is Ross Adams, ambitious ace reporter anxious to sell out to Fleet Street, is fishing for the dirt on trendy vicar Alan and his Hindu fiancée Usha who arrived here aged about 3 when her family was expelled from Uganda.

Nancy Banks-Smith at the Guardian has written a short piece on Ross but she is far too sympathetic. Sure, it's a soap and soaps need villains, but it's so tiresome to see (hear?) the scripties take the easy option. Brenderrr Tuckerrr, the Borchester Echo's previous ace reporter, was a far more realistic portrayal of life on a regional paper. Not since the dreadfully crap Polly on EastEnders have I been so incensed about clichéd journalists.

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