Conversations With the Morning Paper | Bleader

Monday, May 16, 2011

Conversations With the Morning Paper

Posted By on 05.16.11 at 08:00 AM

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Notes on reading the Tribune this weekend:

Reporting on charity drop-off boxes, the Sunday Tribune gets seriously chesty. Says the sidebar:

"In 2004 the Tribune published an investigation on the hundreds of green donation boxes that had started appearing in the Chicago area. It found they are connected to a Danish group called Tvind, and financial records showed that Gaia, the main Tvind-related organization in Chicago, was spending a very small percentage of its revenue on environmental projects....

"Since then, numerous other journalists have published or aired investigations into Tvind-related clothing boxes..."

Since then, and before then. The Reader carried Grant's Pick's report on Gaia, "What's Really in the Box?" in July 2001. Pick was quizzical. He noted that the Gaia boxes around Chicago listed 18 projects that the donated clothing was supposed to support, only one of which it actually did — recycled clothing. Pick didn't claim to be breaking new ground. He noted that several months earlier a British journalist had reported that after operating three years in England, Gaia "has not yet given a penny to charity—nor is there any evidence that any of the projects advertised by [the group] exist, except on paper."

Pick moved the story forward. Three years later, the Tribune series moved it forward some more.

And here, in the Saturday Tribune, is a seriously distressing example of wayward grammar. An editorial, no less, begins with this: "If you're one of those travelers who is fed up with emptying pockets, tossing off shoes and getting a crotch inspection just to board an airliner, it's nice to know you have a couple of other options..."

Abstract the elements: An individual; belonging to a class; that is defined by something that everyone in it does or shares in common. "If you're one of those travelers who is fed up..." is not only wrong but perversely wrong. There's no way to write it without shutting your mind against the thought you're trying to express.

Don't read the press for examples of writers getting this construction wrong — try to find anyone getting it right.

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