Friday, May 16, 2003

If Print News Were Like TV News

If print news were like TV news, it would read something like this:

Hello, and welcome to the column. Those of you who are regular readers know that we write about news, and so we shall. Coming up later in this paragraph, a sentence ending with a preposition. Also in this report, startling news about secondhand smoke. And still to come, we ask the important question: "automatic weapons -- can your children still afford them?" All that, coming up after the break, when we bring you more news you can't get enough of.

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Welcome back, this portion of our column is brought to you by Pie in a Jar. In just a moment, we will explain what this paragraph will say. In this paragraph, we will recap some of our previous material. Earlier in the column, we introduced the column and gave you a look ahead at what was coming up. To summarize that introduction, this is a news column, and today we take a look at secondhand smoke in a new light, without lighting up. Be sure to stay tuned for our second segment, when we examine whether some children are falling behind in the neighborhood arms race; Gun Vouchers may help level the playing field. But first, the weather.

For those of you who don't have windows, or friends with windows, it is currently raining. Our writer in the sky, aboard Print News Helicopter One, projects that the rain passing by his window will soon strike the ground. We'll have more on that story in tomorrow's column. Now back to the news.

That was the weather, where we heard about rain. Later in this paragraph, we'll find out more about secondhand smoke. A new study says that secondhand smoke is not as bad for you as you might think. Tobacco companies are working on a follow-up study to prove that secondhand smoke is so beneficial that the Olympics should ban it as a performance enhancing drug. Well, that's all the time we have, thanks for joining us. Next time, "Guns for Nuns: how our religious community can take on terrorists."

* * *

You see, television news is a lot like that paper you turned in for high school English. You know the one -- it had margins the size of cafeteria trays, and repeated itself like a deranged parrot in an attempt to meet the minimum length requirement. The only oases of hope in the desert of its nonsense were the blatantly plagiarized sections. Television news is worse, because it actually gets paid to do that. TV news spends its time (your precious time!) telling you about what it's going to tell you later on, and how wonderful life will be when it finally gets around to telling you. It's like if you went to a hockey game, and the player introductions lasted an hour but the game was over in two minutes. It's like if you went to a football game, and they spent more time before and after the plays deciding what to do than . . . sorry, bad analogy. Anyway, stop watching TV news and read something. You could even read my next column, where I might tell you something funny.

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