Sunday, May 01, 2005

Combating a deadly disease

Come closer for a minute. I want to tell you something, but not the sort of thing you want to shout out in public.

Your stories might be infected with bureaucratosis.

Don’t recoil. It happens to the best. Like a jungle fungus, it slowly grows until the wispy threads show among the words we write: Fled at a high rate of speed … Authorities informed citizens that … The funds to purchase upgrades for the facility …

And then, slowly, the rot sets in for our readers. Two papers showed recently how it can happen with phrases that should be all but banned from our pages. We can learn and understand the cure is an ever-vigilant copy desk willing to challenge such writing.

Read more from the latest Common Sense Journalism column.

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