Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Quick Annoyances

Don't you hate it when a story with a dateline uses the word "here"? I do.

An example: "MOSCOW -- The streets are quiet here, as Russians prepare for a new week."

If the dateline says Moscow, readers will be able to make the connection that the streets run through that Russian city. I guarantee. The "here" strikes me as an affectation, a word meant to drill the reader with the reporter's on-the-spot-edness.

Cut it out.

In the same vein, why do reporters feel the need to attribute quotes so redundantly? " 'I got the idea for the series of paintings while watching Oprah,' Jones said in an interview."

How else would Jones say it? Does Jones wander the streets at night, explaining the motivations behind his work to strangers? Does he call random people from the phone book to talk about his artistic intentions?

Of course not. We called him up and interviewed him. It goes without saying he said it in an interview.

Some stories, in which the subject makes a public presentation and then talks to a reporter afterward, need such a distinction. I might allow "said in an interview" in that case. But most of the time "said after the speech" works just as well.