Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bad quotes

Okay, so I'm not at home right now, so I plan to either edit this one later for analysis or leave it up for grabs for anyone who needs something to write about. ;)

"Trips on cruise ships often appeal to the elderly, which was the case in one of the deaths," Ishikawa said.

Obviously, newswriters can't edit quotes, but if you were Ishikawa, what would you have wanted to say instead, retrospectively? haha.

I'm also pretty sure that this Sheehan guy would want to take back his "cancer issues" phrase here:

In addition, a 40-year-old woman who had "cancer issues" also died at sea while the ship was en route to Hawaii from San Diego, Sheehan said


Pat said...

Eek, this is the kind of thing that gives newspaper journalism a bad name.

In the first case, the writer could easily have edited Ishikawa's sentence a bit. Here's one possibility: "Trips on cruise ships often appeal to the elderly. This was the case in one of the deaths." The reader still has to make a leap from the first sentence to the second, but at least Ishikawa sounds less cloddish.

"Cancer issues"?! The writer should have paraphrased Sheehan, not quoted him. For example, the woman could have had a terminal illness instead of "cancer issues."

I see from reading the article that Ishikawa said this about the woman:

"We understand that the second person who died was battling cancer."

This phrasing is impersonal and cliched, but perfectly fine in this context. I much prefer it to what Sheehan said.

ceruleanjen said...

Yeah, I thought the "cancer issues" part was rather appalling. People have commitment issues and insecurity issues -- not cancer issues. I'm sure Sheehan meant "complications from cancer"... or something.