Paper Critique: Friday Parthenon- October 2, 2015
Another edition of the Weekend Edition of the Parthenon produces another set of errors regarding newsworthiness, headline writing and story ledes, in addition to a few micro editing mistakes.
The primary issue of The Parthenon is the redundancy of uninteresting ledes. The stories presented to and available to The Parthenon publication on a daily basis are not going to meet the standards of consistently offering newsworthy elements, but nearly every story is written as a preview or recap of a campus event. The lack of interesting subject matters delves from access and the content focus of the paper, however, nearly every story’s lede is “This event by this program/organization was this day at this part of campus.” It’s dull and repetitive and not newsworthy. What happened at this event? Why is it newsworthy?
For example, the lead story is on the Society of Professional Journalist Lecture Series, and the lede reads as “The 2015-2016 Society of Professional Journalist Lecture Series began Thursday with a presentation from the Bulldog Creative Services’ account coordinator and Marshall University alumna Jen Tucker.” If this is the most newsworthy piece of information about this story, is it important enough to go in the paper? Better yet, is anyone going to read that lede and be taken into this story? No. What was this presentation about? What happened at the presentation? How was it beneficial to SPJ members? The Parthenon repeatedly misses the “news” of the “news.” This is a regular occurrence throughout the publication.
There is also the issue of headline writing, stemming from problems involving weak verb usage or unknown elements presenting possible confusion to the reader. In terms of verb usage, two stories on the opening page of the publication use “is” and “hosts” as the verbs in the headline. Both of these are weak verbs and are an indication the news of this publication is boring and not an interesting or worthwhile read. The stories are both about events, so the lede should focus on the news element of these events not that they have or will occur. Also many of the publication’s headlines involve the names of programs or organizations. These organizations are likely not well-known amongst many readers causing confusion as to what the story is about. For example, one headline reads “Rare Drops hosts video game tournament for CONTACT.” The video game tournament is helpful and if the focal point of the story, but readers may not be familiar with Rare Drops or CONTACT. Rare Drops is a downtown video game store and CONTACT provides services for rape victims. Readers would probably better understand the actual meanings of these two entities as opposed to the names. An alternative headline could read, “Local video game store assists in funding of services for rape victims.” This presents a stronger verb in the headline and gives readers a better understanding of what the story is about. Other program names in ledes include, “SPJ”, “Exercise is Medicine” and “WMUL.”