Influenza

March 6, 2008

If you wander through a doctor’s office on your way to a checkup and see someone in a mask, slowly back away.

They likely are there to be tested for a flu that is circulating in the area. Either that or they’re planning to rob a pharmacy. Either way, back off.

I had the misfortune of wearing one of those Daffy Duck looking masks Tuesday and tested positive for the flu, which I don’t remember having since I was a kid. A nurse will swab the inside of your nose, ending somewhere near the base of your brain, to begin the flu test.

As reported in the Daily News, the flu is widespread in the region. It is not a fun time, even though while nursing yourself back to health, there’s plenty of biased TV news coverage of the election to mock.

But the most important thing is to get diagnosed early and take whatever steps possible to ensure those around you aren’t infected with the virus. It can be dangerous, particularly for the very young and very old.

I was prescribed Tamiflu, but it must be taken between 12 and 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.

Suggestions:

*If you’ve been on one couch for too long, be daring: move to another one. Then rest.

*If you have a dog, pet it for a few minutes. Then rest.

*If it barks too much, get up and smack it. Get back on the couch.

*The key here is drink plenty of fluids, which is a tired phrase. What else can you drink, solids?

*Call someone you know who has the flu and chit chat about your symptoms. Kinda like exchanging recipes. Brothers in flu!

*Watch TV, but only between naps.

*Thank God that what you have is temporary.


Soccer slugged

February 5, 2008

Interestingly, WKU’s decision to eliminate men’s soccer has stirred quite a passionate response from some former players and those in the community who are involved in the sport in some way.

A recent protest march drew a crowd of 200 or so.

I wonder if, practically, WKU really had another route to take. It could have sliced small amounts from all sports programs. But then you get into the bread and butter of athletics on the Hill. No way was football going to get scaled back, unless WKU’s back was against the wall even more in terms of cuts.

Basketball programs draw fans, too. Soccer does not draw well at all.

What should WKU have done instead of cutting the sport and why? At a point when IA football is being built up, would you cut there? Men’s and women’s basketball?

If you were the AD, what would you have done and what would you base your decision on?


Bowling Green for $2,000, Alex

February 5, 2008

The category was colorful cities — or something like that. To be honest, I was watching Jeopardy — the TV quiz show — out of the corner of an eye Monday. I did glance over when host Alex Trebek read the clue — something like: “This colorful city is the home of Western Kentucky University.”

Of course, the answer was a no-brainer — except for the three contestants. No one ventured even a guess. It was up to Trebek to reveal the answer. ‘What is Bowling Green?” he told the chagrined contestants.

Guess it just shows that you can know a lot about 17th Century French poets and still not be intellectually well-rounded …


Utilizing the Net

January 21, 2008


On Monday, we were in the unenviable position of missing MLK parade activities in Bowling Green. They began at 10 a.m. and we had to opt for Tuesday coverage of the event.

It had become an off-cycle event for us, so we had Page 1 coverage Monday of national MLK news, plus coverage from Sunday that focused on local educators honored by a local MLK committee.

Luckily, we have the Internet to give our readers more to chew on before Tuesday’s coverage rolls around. We videotaped the Monday morning event, and, as I type, we’re preparing a video to be posted later today on the Net.

Using the Internet gives newspapers a much stronger avenue to keep up with developing stories. We’re using that tool more and more and hope that you, our readers, enjoy the extra work we put in.

But don’t forget, we have second-day coverage that will provide many more details of the local MLK Day activities, so keep reading.


The error – an abomination

January 15, 2008


The following comes from Poynter Online:

“Each misspelled word, bad apostrophe, garbled grammatical construction, weird cutline and mislabeled map erodes public confidence in a newspaper’s ability to get anything right,” a 1998 study commissioned by the American Society of Newspaper Editors concluded. “Even seemingly small errors feed public skepticism about a newspaper’s credibility.”

Errors are a part of the newspaper business. Even the world’s greatest metro papers are peppered daily with corrections, clarifications, etc. It is just the nature of the business.

However, great pains must be taken to minimize errors. There is absolutely no reason to ever misspell a name. Ever. But, it happens through carelessness.

The editing process here is as follows:

•First edits are by senior editors.

•Second edits go to a team of copy editors, known as a copy desk.

•Three edits on each story is the norm.

•Mock ups of pages are then edited two – and sometimes more – times.

The most important edit, however, comes from the reporter editing his or her own copy before submitting it for publication.

We strive to teach the importance of accuracy. Our reporters and editors know how important it is to get the facts and report them.

Credibility is crucial and a closely guarded part of a newspaper’s personality.

Our policy is to correct errors that occur on Page 1 on Page 1. Errors that occur on inside pages are corrected on Page 2.

Sports errors generally are corrected on the Sports section front.

Know that we and all newspapers battle this problem and are aware of the impact errors can have.


Rid yourself of errors

January 11, 2008


So you have a few short minutes to proof that term paper, project, newsletter or Dear John letter.

How can you concisely tell John he’s no longer in the game, a jerk, a loser – a has-been? He stinks and he needs to learn, via your letter, EXACTLY how you feel about him, or her.

Recipe for disaster, errors … for example:

“Dear John: I can’t stand the sight of you. Your habits are causing me such grief that I could spontaneously combust! I must have you!”

In your haste, you typed ‘have’ instead of ‘leave.’ These things happen. Even to polished editors. We’re human, you know, regardless of what those close to us might tell you.

Simple copy editing tips:

1. Crazy but true, make the copy larger on your screen. I keep mine at a large size, one, because I want to see every word – drive-in movie large – and, two, I wear bifocals.

2. Use your cursor to slow your eyes as you read. After editing for a while, your eyes tend to get lazy, as well as your mind, and it’s easy to bypass errors. Slow down and use the cursor as your word guide.

3. After you’re satisfied the copy is perfect, go back and re-read it. You’ll be surprised. And go slow again. The cursor is your guide.

4. Turn off the TV, the radio, muzzle the dog and try to focus on the job.

5. Spell check, spell check, spell check. Then when you’re finished, spell check. Then spell check one more time. That way, you know you won’t forget … to spell check. But beware of reign, rein, rain … affect, effect – if you’re unsure of the correct word, check a dictionary.

These are just a few tips. Let John, or Jane, as the case may be, know the accurate score. You don’t want them coming back, knocking on your door with flowers because your editing skills need refinement.


A must see–each day

January 2, 2008

How photos are played on a page can greatly increase chances of someone actually reading the accompanying story.

Running photos large on a page isn’t a formula for success in and of itself. To get big play from a page designer, photos should have a lot to say about the topic.

The photo editing process here mostly is handled by our photo editor, Joe Imel. He’s an immense talent, works harder than anyone I’ve been involved with.

His efforts, and those of his staff, ramp up our product by several notches. Readers are reeled in by quality photos displayed in appropriate, and varying, sizes. We are a visual species, after all. Words create images in the mind, but photos put the story, and a reader’s insight into it, front and center.

The copy desk’s job is much easier with such strong work to deal with in putting pages together. Reading strong writing is one thing, and a must, but without high quality photos, the product can suffer. If a page is designed similarly to the back of an aspirin bottle, few readers will advance to the end of its stories. However, visual quality helps ensure interest. It’s the bait and can be the meat of a story package.

In that regard, this paper and our readers are blessed, believe me. Look around and see for yourself.