Monday, September 29, 2008


Before I start this, let my say that I'm not just being a whiner. I agreed with most of the criticism, I really just think she's wrong on this.

So the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper wants to change my lead. I figure she knows what she's talking about, but I can't let this one go. My lead sentence is "The driving age debate has once again followed legislators into the meeting room." She wants me to change it to "The driving age debate has once again caused legislators to visit the meeting room."




"Caused legislators to visit the meeting room?!" Caused is one of those ordinary verbs that you're supposed to avoid, right? Oh, wait. The packet we read said that you're supposed to use boring verbs when you're writing news or else it's editorializing. Fine, if I have to use a boring verb, then whatever. But I will not accept "to visit." Nobody visits a meeting room. Not unless they're giving away free donuts. It's not Disney World! When I hear the word visit used like that, it makes me think of how third grade teachers used to say "Do you need to visit the restroom?" Sorry, that's just what it sounds like to me. When you put it like that, it's a fluffy, roundabout way of getting to the point just for the sake of sounding professional.

I don't understand this: why would you intentionally make something boring? Not that my lead is all that great, but I would like to think it's better than "caused to visit." I think it works because my point is that the governor doesn't want to raise the driving age, but the issue keeps following him. They can't get rid of it because the safety departments keep pushing for it. It's "following" them. Perhaps that's editorializing, too. I think I have to look up editorializing. I had a lot marked, and most of it I understand, but saying that most roads are expanding to six lanes doesn't seem like an opinion to me. It's evident.

One other thing. I'm not allowed to jaywalk quote. You know, walk around at lunch and stop at random groups of people, ask them some questions, and when someone shouts out something interesting, I write it down and ask them to sign. With most people, all you have to do is say, "What would you think if the driving age was raised?" and they start debating it on the spot. That's how I got my quotes. It's unreasonable to ask high school kids to spend their lunch letting me interview them about the driving age. This isn't a burning-at-the-stake kind of article, it's more a quick shot in the head. Why can't I jaywalk quote? It seems much more effective, and it gets people talking. I know I need more seniors and people who can drive, but how am I supposed to get seniors besides chickenhead's brother (who I tried to interview today, but he wasn't at school) without jaywalk quoting?

In honor of cars and to make myself feel better, here's what I would say if I was trying to editorialize. I love that I can write whatever I want on here. It's cathartic.

Sitting in a chair and moving at the same time is the idea that shaped and defined the American lifestyle. This idea is what makes cars so popular. Without cars, there would be no driver-through windows or drive-ins. Cars make it possible to antagonize other drivers from the safety of an enclosed steel box. There’s a horn in your steering wheel—use it at random moments, especially in high-traffic areas. Everyone around you will think it’s directed toward them. In the exit lane on the highway, don’t let people cut in front of you. Instead, pretend you don’t see them. Then pull into Burger King and order a Double Whopper with cheese.

I pulled this from a speech I wrote last year, the most fun I've ever had writing for a class.


  1. Actually you're lead was one of the things I liked best about your article. I felt like I was about to read a script for Saturday Night Live's "Weekend update".

    And you can get quotes that's what you do. Just say that you asked everyone the same question (for example on the sheet, just write down the same question for each) and you've got it.. that's how I get MY quotes..
    so basically just go back and type up a "question form" staple it to the paper and say that THATs what you used to interview but you had forgotten it at home.

  2. Thanks! ^^ You're helpful. And I'm not trying to whine about it. It's just that their criticism wasn't constructive. I don't know how to fix all the stuff they hate.