Jose Carillo's Forum


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Team up with me in My Media English Watch!

I am inviting Forum members to team up with me in doing My Media English Watch. This way, we can further widen this Forum’s dragnet for bad or questionable English usage in both the print media and broadcast media, thus giving more teeth to our campaign to encourage them to continuously improve their English. All you need to do is pinpoint every serious English misuse you encounter while reading your favorite newspaper or viewing your favorite network or cable TV programs. Just tell me about the English misuse and I will do a grammar critique of it.

Read the guidelines and house rules for joining My Media English Watch!

A few observations about the reporting of a Philippine newspaper

I received the following e-mail from Forum member Juanito T. Fuerte last January 30, 2011 commenting on the quality of the news reporting of a Philippine daily newspaper:
Hi, Joe,
Its been a long time since the last time I touched base with you—before Christmas, if my memory serves me right. That was when you sent me an invitation to join other interested Forum members in writing something about Christmas. Well, as you know, I wasn’t able to write anything but, I want to let you know that I did enjoy reading what the other Forum members wrote concerning their thoughts, feelings, and personal experiences about Christmas.
Meanwhile, I’ve kept myself busy by trying to keep up with the times through the daily newspapers. One thing I notice: some editors of the Manila broadsheets must be sleeping on the job instead of helping their young news reporters write more readable and enjoyable news stories. Í can’t say I’m really savvy in the English language but, just like your other Forum members, I sometimes can’t help noticing some grammatical errors that make reading news stories boring. Erroneous use of verbs and hazy sentence constructions seem very common; they make you stop reading so you can figure out what they are trying to say. 

Take this  example from the January 20, 2011 issue of The Philippine Star: “In 2007, members of the AFP peacekeeping complained of 40 percent cut in their monthly $1000 allowances, upon orders from the AFP leadership.” (Click this link for the full story.)

Question: Is the above sentence saying that the complaint itself was ordered by the AFP leadership? That doesn’t make any sense, of course, but you would think so the way that sentence was written. I think what the reporter was trying to say is that the cut in the complainants’ monthly allowances was ordered by the AFP, an order that caused the peacekeeping members to complain. What do you think?

Here’s another one taken from the same news item: “The reimbursements were deposited in a Land Bank account until 2002, when the AFP opened a savings with the United Coconut Planters Bank’s Alfaro branch in Makati.”

Man! This one really boggles my mind. What happened after the AFP opened a savings account with the United Planters Bank?  Did they switch depositing the reimbursements there from Land Bank  (the news story was silent on this) or, did they simply stop depositing the reimbursements after 2002?  If the latter is what they did, why should the news story even mention the opening of that savings account at the United Planters Bank?

Believe it or not, I never found out what the rest of that news story was because I simply got tired of trying to figure out what the writer was trying to convey to his readers.

All the best,
Juanito T. Fuerte

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Page last modified: 6 February, 2011, 5:15 a.m.