Monday, September 29

Writing Wrongs: Haste Makes Waste

Deanna Wright seems to be one of the most recent candidates wounded by the double-edged sword that seems to accompany politics and the Internet. While Web sites and blogs can provide a competitive edge, they can also cut away at credibility if they’re not managed properly.

Last week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal skipped past Wright’s positions and went right for the prose, citing that she wants to play an “active roll in the future of education.” And while the leading daily might not have given the mistake a second thought, it was one of a dozen errors.

It’s bad enough that Wright is running for the Clark County School Board, but to make matters worse, she blamed the mistakes on haste and a bad spell checker.

Blaming spell checkers is a poor excuse, mostly because there is no such thing as a “good” spell checker. More concerning is how the errors are handled.

Anyone who writes with frequency on a blog will find a few errors sometimes slip through the cracks. Most of us correct them as soon as they’re spotted. But what stood out to me about this story is that she said she knew about the problems on her site, but hadn’t had time to correct them.

Ironically, this is precisely what is wrong with our school district. There are too many known problems that no one seems to have time to fix.

But more to the point, the easy accessibility of the Internet and the ability to quickly share information is changing the electoral process in that voters have a real opportunity to learn about various issues from each candidate in almost every race. It also takes a brave candidate to share ideas on blogs, knowing that critics are likely to hang on every word much more than any supporters.

Candidates might keep in mind that while the Internet is a great opportunity, bad writing can kill even the best ideas. Slow down and appreciate that there is something to be said for the idiom “haste makes waste.”

It always takes longer to undo the damage caused by careless errors than it does to make those errors in the first place. Ask anyone.

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2 comments:

Shea on 9/29/08, 5:40 PM said...

Bad spell checker? Perhaps she should take a lesson from something that happened recently in Canada: http://www.parentcentral.ca/parent/article/507992

Rich on 9/30/08, 11:30 AM said...

Hi Shea,

Very nice addition. You also remind me that I neglected to mention that some of the worst written newsletters I receive are from my son's school.

I suppose the question becomes: how can we expect students to value good writing when no one else has demonstrated that they value good writing.

Best,
Rich

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