Emergency services outside Eagle Junction train station. Picture: Jasmine Lill
Inquiry: Read the Courier Mail news story
Oh dear, this article reflects badly on the Courier Mail.
Initially, I was curious about the capitalisation of ‘woman’ in the lead sentence. This may be a question of style but it doesn’t appear to be the norm for the Courier Mail. It is also not common practice of journalistic style which limits capitalisation, neither is the use of ‘Wednesday’ for incident occurring on the day and should be written as ‘today’.
I found this story to be very clunky, moving from one idea to another. Adding to the confusion was the update, part way through the story as did the change in tense. This story seems to have missed the vital ‘editing for structure’ stage (Ames 2016).
Guidelines set by the Australian Government’s National Media Initiative Mindframe aims to encourage responsible, accurate and sensitive representation of mental illness and suicide in the Australian mass media. The story meets the overall guidelines however; for online content, direct links to the 24/7 help services are recommend.
I found this exercise very interesting. I don’t claim to be an expert in any regard, especially one with the ability to edit stories from a leading Brisbane newspaper. Although, this story is confusing to say the least. I’m pleased I was able to recognise and correct some technical errors from my learning over the past 11 weeks. With my new skills I am more aware of writing succinctly. I no longer just read an article without critiquing it in some way… perhaps the novelty will wear off!
Practical: Rewrite the above article
Here is my version of the Courier Mail news story.
Woman stuck under train in Brisbane
Update: Emergency services report freeing a woman at 12.55pm today after she became stuck under a train at Eagle Junction railway station.
Queensland Ambulance Service said the woman has been taken to the Royal Brisbane Hospital in a serious condition.
Earlier: Emergency services are working to free a woman stuck under a train at Eagle Junction railway station north of Brisbane.
The injured woman believed to be in her 30s became caught under the train shortly after 12pm today.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: ‘The woman is conscious and has lower leg injuries.
“Four fire crews continue their rescue efforts,” she said.
A witness reports the incident unfolding at the platform in front of a train full of people.
Rail services in the area are affected with the Airport and Doomben trains experiencing delays of 40 minutes.
Police are treating the incident as one of self-harm.
Technical: Quiz 11 – Style
It was a tremendous relief to have successfully completed the final quiz on my first attempt. Chapter eight of Hicks’, English for Journalists, wasn’t very difficult to process and I enjoyed it which always makes a difference. I will look to develop my writing with the four principal attributes of style; suitability, simplicity, precision and poise.
After reading this chapter, I have become more aware of the variety of stylistic devices used in journalism. It tends to feature prominently in sports writing where metaphors, metonymy and oxymoron are often used without constraint. Variation and the need to repeat or vary words, was most applicable to my own writing style. At times, I am guilty of using variation to avoid repetition but as the chapter states this can be a sign of bad structure.
I have to question, with all that is required to write effectively, exactly how does a journalists ever meet deadlines?
Ames, K 2016, COMM11007 Media Writing: study guide, CQUniversity, Brisbane
Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists, Routledge, Oxon.
What’s the difference between proofreading and editing?, digital image, Transpanish, viewed 7 October 2016, http://transpanish.biz/translation_blog/whats-the-difference-between-proofreading-and-editing/
Woohoo quotes, digital image, Quotesgram, viewed 9 October 2016, http://quotesgram.com/img/woo-hoo-quotes/171832/