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Archive for May 23rd, 2005

On getting it right …

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I teach journalism, and I have in my newswriting courses a grading policy that my students would call … well, draconian.

If a student — any student of any capability, including the very best — misspells a proper name, I stop reading and assign an automatic “F” to the story. And remember, a proper name is more than just someone’s name. It’s any word with an initial capital letter (uppercase to us literate geeks). That’s product names. Street names. City and towns. States. Get it wrong; get an “F.”

I don’t stop there. If a student — again, any student — commits an error in fact, then each error in fact will result in a third-of-a-letter grade deduction.

So it’s possible for students to misspell and illfactualize (a new word I just made up; it’s a new game you can play at home) themselves into grading oblivion — a minus score.

So why should I subject you, my loyal readers, to this drivel? Because, it seems, I am an about-to-be-extinct dinosaur trying to cope with an evolution in the meaning of such words as “fact,” “accuracy,” “truth” and “credibility.” Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 23, 2005 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized