Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Is "good writing" now an oxymoron?

Or are we all just becoming morons?

I had the pleasure of meeting with one of the great Peoria bloggers, Billy Dennis, the other day.

While discussing this new buzzword called "citizen journalism", our conversation turned to the lack of decent, local writing. Of course, the Peoria Journal Star came up.

I used to subscribe to the Journal Star every day. It was part of my routine. Coffee and the tangible feel of a good newspaper. I enjoyed it, and when I moved away, I missed reading about my town and surrounding areas.

Now it seems as if there's no need. I occasionally hop on pjstar.com and read the headlines, but the articles are incomplete and rather pointless. Occasionally, they'll have a well-written human interest story, like the one on Dennis Slape by reporter Clare Howard. And I must say one of my guilty pleasures is Phil Luciano's column. But other than that, it's mostly AP-regurgitated news and hurriedly-written text that's inconclusive, not to mention riddled with typos.

To paraphrase Bon Jovi, "You give writing a bad name".

I lamented to Billy - and he agreed - that the well-written word is becoming extinct. I think the public appreciates it when they read it, but those in charge - in any aspect - seem to be complacent with mediocre prose. And it's too bad.

Remember the last time you read a good book? Or even a great article - that inspired, informed or enlightened. You can appreciate it, right? Or have we all gotten so comfortable with sub-standard stories that we expect nothing more?

I don't do many things well, but I can write. My goal is to at least help to bring back the appreciation of the written word and the power that it contains. Well-written copy can make the difference in how you perceive a person, see a service, or are persuaded to purchase a product. It's important, and it's a dying art.

Just some words of wisdom from this wistful writer.

1 comment:

  1. Arts & Letters Daily, great writing, indexed, every day.

    PJS is not a good example, they are fast news, slice & dice, stir, re-microwave and serve, occasional good local feature stories. But only the rare national paper that has time for, can even attempt or afford, good writing, and even that's in danger as so many more internetish outlets. But Citizen Journalism is even worse, blogger-style eternally-meandering prose about some minor neighbored squabble that impacts maybe 20 people, or the usual over-strident political mush.

    Phil Luciano as guilty pleasure? Oh oh. His class-clown 1st person ego-fest that poses as a column, guilty yes, pleasure, no. Gary Panetta, is truly a class act, good writing and reporting there, but Phil is just a walking-drunk narcissistic personality disorder, now posing as a Morning Zoo Time DJ. I was so sad when WMBD dropped his 3 hour long vague vaudevilleish show of pointless lists, I mean, 'Top 10 Breakfast Cereals featured in Movie Soundtracks'...not sure how I can make it through the day anymore. :)

    Good writing is out there, more so than ever, and greater access to such, but local newspapers are never at the forefront, commodity churn, its about information, not finely crafted prose.


For those of you not commenting directly from a blog, the simplest way to leave a comment is to go to the "Comment as" dropdown menu and select Name/URL. Type in your name and don't worry about the URL.