Sometimes you have to wonder how the online newspapers are able to roll out the glut of stories that land on their desk – or in their email inbox. In the old days, there would be a strict editorial process and a fight amongst the hacks to get their story on the following day’s printed pages; as a result, you’d encounter some inspired and well thought out headlines and well-written articles.
The advent of the Internet has changed things however: far fewer people are paying the fifty or so pence it costs to read the news in print, preferring instead to visit the plethora of online resources at their disposal. As a result, those churning out the news are turning over a greater number of stories. There’s no issue with space – it’s a case of just adding a link. There’s also no great concern about accuracy either – if you get a complaint you can just just edit the article or zap it altogether, which is something you cannot do with a printed newspaper.
While there is certainly a lot more to read, the downside of all this is that much of what is out there is of an inferior quality when compared to what we might have seen in print not even twenty years ago. Articles littered with grammatical errors, bad spelling and mistranslations are common, to the point where it leaves you wondering whether the writer (read: teaboy-cum-deskmonkey) has simply run a piece through Babelfish and used Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V.
Which brings me to the point of this post, and the otherwise pointless article posted today in the Telegraph about Neil Armstrong’s missing “a”.
I find it hard to believe that people are actually debating this minutiae, never mind devoting an online news page to it. Some people clearly have plenty of time on their hands. In any case, we all know that this footage was filmed in some remote location in the Nevada Desert…