Common Errors: The bias story/essay

Please note that this is a work in progress as I read and edit through your stories and provide you with feedback. It should take me a week to complete all your stories.

Directions, especially in a large class like this one, are meant to be followed. That means:
1. Read your syllabus thoroughly. That’s where direction for and good performance in a course begins.
2. It is important to STAPLE multiple-page assignments together in a large class so the risk of loss is lessened. Paper clips and high school foldovers don’t work.
3. E-mail and your discussion forum, THE ONE THING, are good places to practice good writing: grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice, sentence structure. The mistakes you make in your casual writing end up showing up in your graded work.
4. It is e-mail etiquette that you properly use your SUBJECT line. In this class, that means putting Comm203-001/Introduction to Journalism in your SUBJECT line, followed by the purpose of THAT specific e-mail.
5. If you miss or expect to miss class, you are required as part of your class participation grade to e-mail the instructor (with the reason if you so choose).

Here is a great place to check for the most common errors.

The rewrite exercise for this assignment is a great checklist to use for your major story assignment.

The common errors:

  • Once again, comma faults.
  • Once again, if you start a sentence with a dependent phrase, the dependent phrase must be followed by a comma.
  • Once again, if you use a non-essential phrase, like this, you must set it off from the rest of the sentence with commas.
  • A great way to spot bias in the media is to compare stories in different newspapers/web sites or on different television networks. Compare word usage, headlines, images, tone. How do the differ? What does that tell you?
  • Pure objectivity is difficult at best to obtain. We are all subjective by nature. We all have biases (plural of bias); we are all biased (transitive verb). Recognize your own biases before pointing out someone else’s.
  • If you are going to use words and phrases like “unreliable,” “of her ilk,” “reek,” “she doesn’t even,” and “ignorant,” you had better back them up with examples. Otherwise, you are expressing your own opinion and, perhaps, bias.
  • Ambiguous pronouns are euphemisms. An ambiguous pronoun confuses the reader. If a pronoun does not refer to the immediate preceding noun, the pronoun is ambiguous (note my use of nouns, even if I repeat them, in place of pronouns in this sentence).
  • AP Style: Books, newspapers, movies, television shows, chapters and espisode names go inside quotation marks (there is no ital in AP Style, no underlining).
  • AP Style: U.S. is an adjective; United States in the noun.
  • Punctuation generally goes inside quotation marks.
  • Misuse of “orphan quotes.” Don’t use them.
  • Overuse of sentence fragments. Don’t overdo it.
  • Wordiness. This results from a lack of rereading and revising your story.
  • Using the wrong word. If you don’t reread, you won’t eliminate wordiness.
  • Don’t write “needless to say.” It’s needless to say.
  • Don’t write “I think” or “I believe.” What you write is what you think or believe.
  • If you don’t know how to punctuate, don’t write compound sentences.
  • Avoid long, run-on sentences. Learn the beauty of the simple declarative sentence: subject-verb-object.
  • Journalism paragraphs are generally no longer than 4-to-5 type-written lines — often, just one sentence!
  • Know the difference between “toward” and “towards.”
  • Here are 10 rules for writing numbers.
  • Want more? Here are 16 more rules for writing numbers.
  • Avoid absolutes like “all,” “every,” “everyone.”
  • Editors generally write the headlines on stories, not the reporters. No journalist would call a headline a title.
  • Use affect as a verb; effect as a noun.

1 comment so far ↓

  •   Washington on 08.31.12 at 2:06 am     

    So many years learning English grmaamr and i keep on having some stupid doubts now and again .How do you say? donb4t worry about nothing or donb4t worry about anything .It sounds better the first one, doesnb4t it? .nothing, anything, nothing, anything .i tend to mix them up .any rule to make it easier?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *