Quantcast

Monday, December 2, 2013

40

What If a Women's Magazine Editor Edited a BBC News Story About Syria?

HED: Syria (READER WON’T KNOW WHERE THAT IS) government site (WHAT SITE?) in Damascus (READER WON’T KNOW WHERE THAT IS ) hit by huge (HOW HUGE) bomb

Civilians (MEANING EVERYONE IN THE CITY WHO IS NOT IN THE ARMY? THAT IS A LOT OF PEOPLE) in Damascus (AGAIN: OUR READER DOES NOT NECESSARILY KNOW WHERE DAMASCUS IS.) have been caught in the middle (WHERE IN THE MIDDLE? SO ALL THESE PEOPLE, LITERALLY EVERYONE IN SYRIA WHO IS NOT IN THE ARMY, ARE CAUGHT ‘IN THE MIDDLE’? IS THERE ANYONE WHO IS NOT? DID YOU TALK TO THOSE PEOPLE? MIGHT HELP GIVE BALANCED PERSPECTIVE.) of clashes between government forces (WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘GOVERNMENT FORCES’ HERE?) and rebels (WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY ‘REBELS’ HERE? BE SPECIFIC.)

A bomb (TYPE???) attack (WHAT KIND OF ATTACK????) on a Syrian (ASSUMING SYRIANS ARE PEOPLE FROM SYRIA? EXPLAIN.) government building (WHAT KIND OF BUILDING?) near Damascus has killed 31 people, (WE WERE TALKING ABOUT EVERYONE, AND NOW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT 31 PEOPLE? CONFUSING.) according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE? EXPLAIN.)

Four generals (GENERALS ARE NOT CIVILIANS. CONFUSING.) were among the dead, the activist group said. (SO THE SYRIAN OBSERVATORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IS AN ACTIVIST GROUP? NOT CLEAR.)

The explosives are thought (BY WHOM?) to have been placed in the basement (IN WHICH BASEMENT???!!) meaning opposition fighters were able to breach security to get into the building. (SORRY SARAH, BUT I CAN’T PICTURE THIS AT ALL. SHOW DON’T TELL.)

There has been no confirmation of the attack by state media, or by government officials. (THIS IS GREAT.) 

But Damascus has experienced increasing violence recently (SAYS WHO? NOT GETTING THIS/SEEING WHY/UNDERSTANDING THIS) as clashes between government forces and rebels in the suburbs intensify. (PLEASE USE A MORE DESCRIPTIVE TERM THAN ‘INTENSIFY’)

Three people were killed (HOW?) on Thursday (WHAT TIME?) by bombs (WHAT KIND OF BOMBS???) and mortar fire (ADD DESRIPTION HERE, PLEASE.) near the historic Old City (SARAH, THIS ISN’T A TOURIST GUIDE TO DAMASCUS. CUT.) of Damascus.

On Monday the driver (JUST THE DRIVER??? NAME, PLEASE!) [NOTE FROM EIC: WAS THE DRIVER BY ANY CHANCE A WOMAN? IF NOT, CAN YOU FIND A BUS THAT WAS DRIVEN BY A WOMAN THAT WAS HIT BY MORTAR?] of a school bus and four children died (☹. EEK. I REALIZE THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE STORY, BUT IT’S A LITTLE DEPRESSING. IS THERE A WAY TO RE-PHRASE.) when a mortar hit their vehicle. (MODEL? MAKE?)

Sunday's explosion happened in the suburb of Harasta, north-east of the capital. (FIRST TIME YOU ARE MENTIONING ‘THE CAPITAL’. V. CONFUSING.)

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – a UK-based (WHERE? THE UK IS A PRETTY BIG PLACE. IS IT IN LONDON? MANCHESTER? DORSET? DERBYSHIRE? ESSEX? BIRMINGHAM? HENLEY-ON-THAMES?) activist network (ACTIVIST NETWORK DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING. ALSO. THERE ARE NO MENTIONS OF ANY GROUPS DOING CHARITY WORK IN THIS PIECE WHICH I FIND HARD TO BELIEVE, IF THESE PEOPLE ARE TRULY IN SUCH DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES. MIGHT ADD A LITTLE LIGHT TO THE PIECE.) – said it was not clear what type of bomb was used (IF THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING, WHY ARE WE QUOTING THEM? CUT.) but that the force of the blast completely leveled the building.

"Only the night staff (WHERE?) were on duty (‘ON DUTY’ IS A PRETTY BROAD TERM. TAKE US INTO THE ACTION.) when the explosion (WHICH EXPLOSION?) occurred. If the bomb had gone off an hour before, there could have been up to 200 dead," the group's head, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Reuters news agency. (IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU COULD GET RAHMAN TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE, "THERE COULD HAVE BEEN EVEN MORE UNSPEAKABLE HEARTBREAK. THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK." OR SOMESUCH.)

SUBHED: Fleeing the fighting (WAIT. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE MENTIONED PEOPLE FLEEING THE FIGHTING. YOU LITERALLY MEAN THEY ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE FIGHTING? LET’S START WITH THIS ACTION UP TOP, PLEASE.)

As well as the clashes around Damascus, there has also been fierce (IMHO PEOPLE ASSOCIATE THIS WORD WITH FASHION NOWADAYS. UP TO YOU.) fighting north of the capital, in Qara (IS THAT IN SYRIAN? CAN WE SPELL THAT IN ENGLISH?) near the border with Lebanon. (AGAIN, PLEASE LOCATE READER, I.E, “A SMALL COUNTRY ON THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, KNOWN FOR ITS OLIVES.”)

Government forces tried to storm rebel positions in the town, the Observatory said. (THIS IS GREAT.)

Thousands of Syrians have been pouring over the border to Lebanon (FIRST TIME WE ARE MENTIONING THAT SYRIA IS NEXT TO LEBANON. ESTABLISH UP TOP, WHILE LEADING WITH THE ACTION, LIKE I MENTIONED ABOVE, PLEASE.) in the past two days, taking shelter (IN WHAT? SO THESE PEOPLE COME OVER THE BORDER, AND RIGHT AWAY, THEY FIND PLACES TO LIVE? SEEMS UNLIKELY.) from the clashes, according to UN and local officials.

The UN says more than 100,000 (HOW MANY MORE?) people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad (FIRST MENTION OF BASHAR AL-ASSAD. IT SOUNDS LIKE HE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS STORY. LET’S PUT HIM UP TOP. PLEASE.) began in 2011.

More (HOW MANY MORE?) than 2.2 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries (WHICH ONES? WOULD BE GOOD TO HAVE SOME ANTIDOTES HERE) while an estimated 4.25 million have been displaced internally. (INTERNALLY WHERE? ALSO – QUICK GENERAL-EDIT QUESTION: IS THERE ANY WAY TO TURN THIS STORY INTO A CHART OR LIST?)

 

Previously: Poetry: A Love Story

Photo via Bess Georgette/Flickr.

Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl. She lives in Nevada City, CA. Follow her on Twitter @sarahlovescali.



40 Comments / Post A Comment

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Got through about three paragraphs (EXACTLY THREE??) before my arms (BOTH ARMS???) went numb with anger (WHAT KIND OF ANGER??).

j-i-a

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose (AGAIN, PLEASE LOCATE READER, I.E, “A SMALL COUNTRY ON THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN, KNOWN FOR ITS OLIVES.”)

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose (PLEASE ESTABLISH APPRECIATION OF SARAH MILLER AND JIA EARLIER IN COMMENT THREAD.)

MaryJReno

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose my roomate's half-sister makes $74/hour on the computer. She has been fired from work for five months but last month her paycheck was $21376 just working on the computer for a few hours. you could look here WWW.Ring77.COm

j-i-a

@MaryJReno my roomate's [NAME??] half-sister [IS FATHER REMARRIED OR MOTHER? MAY BE GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO TALK ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE] makes $74/hour [IS THIS CONFIRMED] on the computer [WHAT MODEL? NEW COMPUTER? PROBABLY MAC AIR??]. She has been fired from work [WHY WAS SHE FIRED? DETAILS] for five months ["FUNEMPLOYED" MAYBE] but last month her paycheck was $21376 [PAID EVERY MONTH? BIWEEKLY?] just working on the computer for a few hours [PER DAY? IS SHE A WEBCAM GIRL???? DON'T BURY THIS LEDE]. you could look here WWW.Ring77.COm [WE NEED A BETTER LOOKING URL]

ru_ri

@j-i-a Jia, you are the best.

OhMarie

@j-i-a This is glorious, it's a crime that it's buried here.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@j-i-a Jesus Christ that's funny

George Templeton Strong

@j-i-a And the copy editor would be right behind. [Are those American $? CDN? AUS?] [and $21376 should be either $21,376 or $213.76 query writer.]

hairspin

I'm pretty sure this is the best thing I've read all year.

juney

Created a commenter account for the first time just to say how fucking great this is.

Sheila Albertson

@juney Ditto. You are a legend, Sarah Miller. Only thing missing is a request at the end for the revise within 24 hours... even though the issue doesn't ship for another 6 weeks.

Lauren Lipton@facebook

@Sheila Albertson ...and you turned in the piece six months ago but the editor just got to it now. And you won't be paid until 2017.

ru_ri

@Lauren Lipton@facebook Jesus, are we all working for the same fucking magazine?

Susanna

@Sheila Albertson Seconded. My God. Every time I've done something for a women's mag they've come at it with a full set of requirements about what's in it – facts or actual news be damned. They just have to get out of the way to make the right story. Oh, and I'm not allowed to say I live in Berlin as apparently that would just cause damage to the readers. Or something.

juksie

I had hope that the jokes in this would be funny or clever enough that I would be able to move past how actively I hated the premise of this piece, but unfortunately not, I hate it just as much at the end.
But kudos to you, Sarah Miller, for writing such consistently hit-or-miss pieces that I kept reading until the end of this one waiting for a hit.

mistersister

@juksie Why do you hate it? Although this is a bit of an exaggeration, women's magazine editors will actually send feedback like this. It's funny because it's true.

nancytik

@juksie what? you may never have written for women's mags before. since i have, a lot, i found it so on target that it had me lmao even after reading through a couple of times.

alliepants

@juksie See, this post is why I write for a newspaper [ACCORDING TO WHOM?], though that's its own special sort of fun [WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? UNACCEPTABLE WORDING].

juksie

@all I mean, I guess it's part that I enjoy women's magazines and recognize that they aren't always trying to appeal to me/my education level with their writing, and part that I think that this piece is, in part, arguing that certain types of writing are better/worse than others, which I find...aggravating.
But hey! I don't write for a living, I just like reading other people's writing, so I guess I'm just not the audience for this, and that's okay.

muralgirl

Wow, this is giving me flashbacks to my dissertation chair's comments: "First half of short sentence that introduces concept (EXPLAIN THIS!), and second half that explains concept. (OK!)" Read the whole sentence before commenting, argh!

adorable-eggplant

@muralgirl Wow. That is just priceless.

Spaghettius!

@muralgirl This is making me flash back to a particular class in undergrad. These were the markups on every essay I got, the grade was always a B (A's in every other class), and when she made me meet with her to discuss how to rewrite for a better grade she'd give me specific suggestions, I'd repeat them back to her and she'd stare at me completely bewildered and just go, "Oh no, don't do that!" and give me TOTALLY different suggestions, and this went on until I nodded and walked away.

irma la douce

This is fucking perfect.

Julie Gerstein@facebook

Sarah Miller, this is PERFECTION!

Lauren Lipton@facebook

This is a great start. But could you make it voicier?

sarpmiller

@Lauren Lipton@facebook If i ever hear the word voice ever again i will remove my voicebox with a sharpened perfume insert

20911720@twitter

I'm wondering where the service is?

28037664@twitter

Hahahahahahahahahahaha… oh, ow…

…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA… ((sob))

Jen Shannon Boggio@facebook

Ha, ha! This could never happen!

Oh, wait...

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-04-25/lifestyle/35454509_1_asma-al-assad-bashar-al-assad-syrian-opposition-groups

moreadventurous

@Jen Shannon Boggio@facebook oh wow. that is delightfully terrible.

Qlirim2

http://www.10minuta.com/video/gezuar-2014
Gezuar 2014
Ketu do te gjeni video te humorit shqip si dhe muzika shqip per vitin 2014

Dana Kennedy@facebook

Agree with all who say this is brilliant. As for me can barely distinguish this from actual edits I have received and finally Lauren Lipton I posted this on Facebook with the comment that all that was missing was the note "This is a great first draft" BEFORE reading what you wrote.

15363920@twitter

ANTIDOTES (Don't you mean ANECDOTES?)

sarpmiller

@15363920@twitter Uh no actually I meant antidotes. Sadly.

Brian Kennedy@facebook

No sense of history! http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/the-only-remaining-online-copy-of-vogues-asma-al-assad-profile/250753/

Spaghettius!

@muralgirl This is making me flash back to a particular class in undergrad. These were the markups on every essay I got, the grade was always a B (A's in every other class), and when she made me meet with her to discuss how to rewrite for a better grade she'd give me specific suggestions, I'd repeat them back to her and she'd stare at me completely bewildered and just go, "Oh no, don't do that!" and give me TOTALLY different suggestions, and this went on until I nodded and walked away.

Holly Robinson

So funny--especially the last comment about "any way to make this a chart or a list?" Seems if you can't count the ways to do something, that thing doesn't exist in most magazines! Really great piece.

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account