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So today's Chronicle has a story about Compass Real Estate opening a new office or two in the metro area. The story is accompanied by a picture of a BBVA Compass sign (BBVA Compass is a completely unrelated bank).  It seems one would almost have to try to be this bad.

Edited by Houston19514
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2 hours ago, Houston19514 said:

So today's Chronicle has a story about Compass Real Estate opening a new office or two in the metro area. The story is accompanied by a picture of a BBVA Compass sign (BBVA Compass is a completely unrelated bank).  It seems one would almost have to try to be this bad.

Was the photo in the print edition? Not that it matters much.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Fifty years ago our Journalism 101 teacher stated “ Newspapers are geared to be read at an 8th grade level”

 

After reading many Chronicle articles,  I agree……..now my question: Is the same Statement from Junior High still True? 
I am puzzled, if it is true………then what exactly is an eighth grade level?

Edited by trymahjong
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1 hour ago, trymahjong said:

 

 

After reading many Chronicle articles,  I agree……..now my question: Is the same Statement from Junior High still True? 
I am puzzled, if it is true………then what exactly is an eighth grade level?

My seventh grade English teacher walked into the classroom on the first day of class and immediately said, "Analyze and criticize and I won't penalize." (!) How many junior high students hear that these days or even understand what it means? We understood what she meant but day-um were still struggling with our locker combinations.

By the way, she was a very nice person but tough as nails when it came to grading our work. She had us competently diagramming sentences before the Thanksgiving break. I wonder if I can still do that. 🙂 

6 minutes ago, Ross said:

chron.com is pretty bad. The houstonchronicle.com pay site is far better, and has the same content as the paper version, plus some other stuff that is far better edited than chron.com

Good to know. I guess the adage, you get what you pay for, is still true in some instances.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, chron.com is a dumpster fire run by Hearst in New York and targeted toward the loafing class.

The actual news is on houstonchronicle.com, and in the print edition.

I am a Houston Chronicle print subscriber.  It's not great.  It's certainly a shadow of what it once was, what it should be, and what it could be.  But it's not as bad as people make out.  I think largely because a lot of people see one bad story or one bad edition or one mistake, and they mentally throw the baby out with the bathwater.

It needs more local news.  The local news it has needs more space and information.  A lot of the briefs are stories like "A woman was killed at a convenience store in southwest Houston..." but it never says where in southwest Houston.  Southwest Houston is a massive area, larger than a number of major cities.  Some addresses and maps would be nice.  I suspect that a lot of those quickie stories are written by Hearst people in New York, or by Hearst robots elsewhere.  (Yes, automated reporting is now a thing, though still limited in use.)

The Chronicle seems to put a lot of effort into lifestyle news, like events and restaurant reviews, and such.  I like being able to read about the Houston Ballet, and the Friday list of weekend events is very useful.   For some reason there's a regular feature about hamburgers.  I'm not sure I need yet another hamburger review. 

I also wish that the Chronicle didn't cast a blind eye to almost anything happening on Galveston Island.  But that's not unique to the Chronicle.  The TV stations have the same blind spot.  If it's not weather-related, or visible from a remote camera on top of a building, it's rare to see any reporting from Galveston.  It's not new.  It's been like this for at least this entire century so far.  I've never really understood that.

Getting back on topic, in my experience, these days it's unfair to judge a newspaper by its web site.  The web sites are very often run by different people with different goals, sometimes in different cities.  Should it be that way?  No.  Is it that way?  Sadly, it is.   Reading a newspaper in your hand is an entirely different experience compared with reading a newspaper's web site.  I guess in a way, it should be.  Just like reading a newspaper is an entirely different experience than watching the news on a TV station owned by a newspaper.  But for some reason we think they should be the same. 

For reasons that are unimportant, I subscribe to a number of print newspapers from around the country, so I think I'm able to judge the Chronicle a little better than most.  Again, it's not everything it should be.  But it's not as bad as it seems, and if you read it regularly, you discover there's a lot of good information in there. 

On a related note, if you see an old man in Frank's Pizza reading the Navajo Times, be nice to him.  It's just me waiting for my pepperoni rolls.

 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 10/27/2021 at 3:54 PM, Specwriter said:

My seventh grade English teacher walked into the classroom on the first day of class and immediately said, "Analyze and criticize and I won't penalize." (!) How many junior high students hear that these days or even understand what it means? We understood what she meant but day-um were still struggling with our locker combinations.

By the way, she was a very nice person but tough as nails when it came to grading our work. She had us competently diagramming sentences before the Thanksgiving break. I wonder if I can still do that. 🙂 

Good to know. I guess the adage, you get what you pay for, is still true in some instances.

this borders into a political conversation (actually, it dives into the deep end of political conversation), but...

the elementary and secondary education act started us down a path that the no child left behind act took to another level, and I'm sure they follow up to NCLB will do even more damage.

the intentions were wonderful, and it was a great idea. lift everyone to the same standards so that all students get a fair chance. what has happened though, rather than children being lifted up, everyone's pace has been slowed down. so the result is a perverse failure of the dream. I guess the end result is the same, everyone has an equal chance, but it is at the expense of actual education. 

at the end of the day, when kids graduate from high school and say that they have to attend college so that they can get a job, it's not because employers demand college graduates, it's because the public education system has failed to educate them, so they have to waste 12 years of their life 'learning' only to graduate and go on to spend starter home money on what they should have learned in public school.

Edited by samagon
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4 hours ago, samagon said:

it's because the public education system has failed to educate them

It is not just grammar and syntax that are deficient. IMO there is a general decline in the ability to communicate effectively (notice I did not split the infinitive 🙂). Is this in spite of, or because of, all the communication tools we now have? I wonder.

My grandmother graduated from a very rural high school in southern Louisiana in 1932. Her grammar and spelling were impeccable and her handwriting was gorgeous. She always wrote in clear and complete sentences. Of course, I have saved the letters she wrote to me when I was in college. She passed the year after I graduated. 

We need to start (or resume) thinking of school as boot camp for our lives after we "leave home."

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1 minute ago, Specwriter said:

It is not just grammar and syntax that are deficient. IMO there is a general decline in the ability to communicate effectively (notice I did not split the infinitive 🙂). Is this in spite of, or because of, all the communication tools we now have? I wonder.

My grandmother graduated from a very rural high school in southern Louisiana in 1932. Her grammar and spelling were impeccable and her handwriting was gorgeous. She always wrote in clear and complete sentences. Of course, I have saved the letters she wrote to me when I was in college. She passed the year after I graduated. 

We need to start (or resume) thinking of school as boot camp for our lives after we "leave home."

absolutely. the Internet, and short form communications (text, twitter, etc) makes it even worse. so it's not all down to bad application of best intention policy. 

something as simple as homonyms though. how is that missed?

I'm sure some see my failure to capitalize the first word of a sentence as a thing that is grating (I do apply it consistently, so if I were writing a novel it would be ok!). 

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On 12/6/2021 at 3:58 PM, samagon said:

something as simple as homonyms though. how is that missed?

Simple.  It's a lack of staff.  Newspapers used to have several layers of fact checking, grammar checking, etc.  Fact checkers were the first people out the door when things got bad. 

Also, now reporters are expected to write multiple stories each day.  When I started in journalism, newspaper reporters were expected to file a story every day or two or three. 

Some of the web sites that people now mistake for journalism (Buzzfeed, Vice, etc...) expect their "reporters" to write a dozen or more in a day. How is that a formula for quality?

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