Narrative Writing is Not Appropriate in News and Political Opinion Articles, Please Stop It


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I was sitting at my desk wondering how that spot got on the wall and if I would ever bother cleaning it. I suddenly sneezed and remembered the good old days when I used to run my dirt bike in the sand dunes near the beach. In those days, there were few personal computers and I didn’t have one. We would get out in the sun and have fun. Getting old is hard. I have pains on my pains.

Escaping the doldrums of my mundane life, I decided to take a look at the hard news and the great commentaries of the most credible and respectable news sources to see what was going on and what it all means. That’s not what I found.

I popped open The New York Times and saw the headline, “The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked.” As I sipped my last drop of morning coffee and rubbed my eyes, I started reading.

In my old workplace, right next to the comfortable couches where we would take breaks, we kept a voting machine. Instead of using the screen to pick our preferred candidate, we played Pac-Man. We sent Pac-Man’s familiar yellow chomping face after digital ghosts …

I can see that it’s going to take a while to get past this narrative and get into anything resembling election issues. It’s called an opinion piece, but it’s supposed to be an opinion about the election rigging. I closed the browser tab. Next article please.

Over to The Washington Post, there’s a headline, “The final insult: Donald Trump is a bore.” Could somebody have an agenda or are they just looking for eyes? I foolishly took the bait, click the article, and started reading.

If he doesn’t ultimately win the election and shred our Constitution, the most annoying thing about Donald Trump may end up being this: He forced us to devote so much of our lives to a man who is, fundamentally, a bore.

Wait a second. George W. Bush already shredded that “piece of paper” with torture, secret laws, wars against unnamed nations, massive spying, etc. — you know, everything Barrack Obama continued. Where was that narrative when we needed it in 2000? Again, this article by The Washington Post is an opinion piece but could we have an intelligent opinion please? I don’t think the Democratic partisan Media Matters site is quite this blunt, but I haven’t been three in a while. Next article.

Heading over to The Wall Street Journal, surely, there will be some good financial news. The headline “In Bangladesh Cyberheist, Strange Requests, Odd Misspellings and Little Scrutiny by Fed” really grabbed me. Everyone wants to know about Bangladesh crime. The article was subtitled “Details of payment orders shed more light on a caper that has harmed New York Fed’s reputation and exposed gaps in how money moves around world” so there was an American connection. I started reading.

One order seeking money from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York wanted $20 million for vaguely defined consulting fees. A second sought $30 million for “ineligible expenses.” A large number of others requested tens of millions of dollars be sent to a handful of men.

What is this? A riddle? I don’t want to read anymore of this narrative. But just then, The Wall Street Journal did me a huge favor.
narrative-writing-news--opinion-1
Thank you and no thanks for a subscription. I was just leaving anyway.

According to the professionals, even the narrative has some rules and conventions. I don’t think these articles meet those lowest standards. These journalists might want to take the Narrative Writing course or read up at the site that provided the diagram above.

As for me, I’ve had enough of the “news” narrative for this morning. I am going out for my morning jog before work, then I think I’ll dig out a romance novel to read during lunch break. At least it will be in chronological order and won’t be full of the author’s random personal episodes. Over and out.


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