i newspaper, August 11, 2017

(116 words) This is sloppy, with its misplaced word, three ‘afters’ and a ‘following’. ‘Told how’ should be avoided.You can’t call someone a ‘hero’ in quotes unless there is a quote to back it up. (Actually I am old-fashioned enough to prefer ‘heroine’ for a woman.) Was the nurse on the bus or passing by? (She was on it.) I would not put ‘south London’ in the intro, because readers without a connection to south London may move on to another story. I don’t think it makes the best of the drama either, even with the use of ‘desperately’.

This is how I would do it:

crash driver
‘blacked out’

The driver of a bus which ploughed into a parade of shops yesterday apparently blacked out at the wheel.

Ten people were injured in the crash during the morning rush hour in Battersea, south London.

Nurse Amy Mullineux, who was on the 77 double-decker, tried to give emergency treatment to trapped passengers and the driver.

‘He said he blacked out before the bus hit the shop,’ she said. ‘He doesn’t remember hitting anything. The paramedic told me they think he had some kind of fit.’

Ms Mullineux, 40, said she was forced to flee because of fears that the bus would burst into flames. (102 words)

Removing the repetitions makes it a few words shorter than the original but I dare say there was more copy.



The Times, August 11, 2017

So how tall is Mr Tankard? You need to know this to judge whether there is a real need for the couple to raise their roof by 5ft (2metres). The neighbours obviously don’t think there is. Mr Tankard should be asked to state his height and if he refuses to answer, then you say so.


i newspaper, August 7, 2017

What a strange piece this is. Die Rot Punkte is an Australian comedy duo called Clare Bartholomew and Daniel Tobias, who pretend to be German siblings. Yet this seems to treat them as genuine rock performers. Will every i reader know the act is a spoof? I doubt it. If you are doing a joke item you need to give more clues, otherwise the reader will simply be baffled. In any case, why is it so full of doubled words, misplaced apostrophes and mis-spelled words? Is this a joke too? It doesn’t amuse me much.


The Times, August 7, 2017

This would be fine, except that Djokovic announced on July 26 that he would not play again for the rest of the season because of an elbow injury. I imagine the TV listings are supplied by an agency but there is no excuse for this. Someone should be checking.


Sunday Times, August 6, 2017

This treats ‘marinade’ and ‘marinate’ as if they are interchangeable, which they are not. The ‘marinade’ (noun) is the liquid mixture in which you ‘marinate’ (verb) an item of food. So the first attempt, in the heading, is wrong: it should be ‘Marinated’ (verb). The second, in the intro, is right. The third, further down the intro, is  wrong and should be ‘marinate’. The fourth, in the recipe, is right.


The Times, August 5, 2017

You can’t mix imperial and metric measures in the same story. I expect the Times has a house style on which is preferred, and presumably this has not been followed. My guidance would be to choose one as your main measure and give the other in brackets, eg ‘the 33kg (55lb) concrete block’. Then be consistent in all your stories.


i newspaper, August 2, 2017

Nelson, Lancashire, has a population of around 30,000, roughly the same size as Oxford. The person who handled this must not have heard of Nelson, because he or she would have known that it is a town, not a village. In that case you look it up. You cannot rely on the writer to get everything right. That is what subs are for. If you can’t be bothered to check something which you do not know to be correct, you really should be doing something else.


World Championships 2017: Mo Farah defends his 10,000m title in London

BBC Sport Website, August 4, 2017

This is the heading on a story about Mo Farah winning his race. ‘Defend’ means ‘protect’, so it says only that he took part in the race. It should say that he ‘retains’ his title or ‘successfully defends’ it.


i newspaper, August 4, 2017

You really need more geography than ‘Netherlands’. So what were the lamp posts (note: two words, not hyphenated) doing on his car? And the word ‘only’ is missing before ‘offences’. As it stands, this short is not worth using.


Daily Express, August 2, 2017

This purports to be a quote from J B Morton, the legendary writer of the Express’s Beachcomber column for 50 years. I would be amazed if he was ignorant enough to put ‘Bosch’, which is the name of a German electrical goods firm and a 16th century Dutch artist, and a Second World War nickname for the Germans, instead of ‘Bosh’, meaning rubbish.