The Poor “Washington Jewish Week” (3 cents)

“The Washington Jewish Week” has never been a newspaper for deep thinkers, and it appears that, under its new ownership, and yet to be appointed new editorship, it’s not going to change. In fact, the presumably political firing of its previous editor, and numerous notices in other media have made it appear that the paper will become even less friendly to a diversity of thought and opinion, and will instead become a voice for the particular positions of its new owners. Too bad, but so be it.

But no matter whether I agree with a paper’s editorial positions, or the slant of its news articles, I do expect a serious newspaper at least to pay attention to the more mechanical aspects of its publication. And reading the current edition of the “Jewish Week” (March 10, 2011), I have to wonder.

I guess is started when I was looking at the ad for Shaul’s Kosher Market, and saw (appropriate, I guess, for a food store) that it was “Under the suppervision [sic] of the Rabbinical Counsel [sic] of Greater Washington”. The ad further offered a discount upon presentation of a “counpon”. Ugh. So, I decided to look further.

I looked at the two first page articles, and realized that, although both touched upon important subjects (why camp counselors can’t have physical contact with young campers, and the prevalence of suicide), neither constitute “news”, and therefore neither were truly front page articles.

I looked at the second page “Mishmash”, always an embarrassment and this week increasingly so, making fun of the Pope’s recent pronouncement that the Jews cannot collectively be considered responsible for the death of Jesus, or making fun of Justin Bieber and his mother (on account of their being evangelical Christians) as he prepares for his first Tel Aviv concert.

The Comcast (Xfinity) ad misspells “Prince George’s County” and capitalizes “Today” unnecessarily. The Jewish Week’s own ad mis-capitalizes “Issues”, and asks the question “Why are these dates different from all other dates?” next to a picture of………..matzos. And in another Jewish Week ad, you learn you can advertise in the glossy pages in its bar and bat mitzvah planner edition on a “first comr, first served” basis. The newspaper tends to use “@” as a substitute for the word “at”, and “&” too often as a substitute for “and”. And contractions like “he’s” instead of “he is” in news articles. The El Al ad mixes up “your” and “our”.

There is an article on Jewish former Peace Corps members, and the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Fine. But do they have to say that the population of Micronesia had a “primitive island culture”? And can it possibly be true that a former volunteer in El Salvador couldn’t, a few weeks before her arrival there, find El Salvador on a map? Or another had never heard of Micronesia before he and his wife got on the airplane?

In an article about Ben Kingsley, the actor praises the “young actress” who played Anne Frank in the television production that he was in. Wouldn’t it have been nice to give her a name?

Back to the ads. The TripperBus ad has “* each way”. What’s wrong with that? There is no other “*” to which you can refer back. And (small point, I know), if Maryland is abbreviated MD, shouldn’t Virginia be abbreviated VA, rather than Va? And in the Churchill Senior Living ad, don’t they know that “carefree” is a word, and you don’t have to break it up to “care free”? And in fact, breaking it in that manner is wrong? Similarly, in the Cruises, Inc. ad, it should be a “getaway”, not a “get-away”.

Back to the news items. It’s nice to give some publicity to the impressive charity “Maddie’s Blankets”, but when you call it “Madde’s Blankets”, you are doing it any favors. The paper purported to state what President Obama reportedly “told” Democratic donors in Miami, but it came out that Obama “reportedly as “old” Democratic donors in Miami. True, I guess, but…….

OK, I’ve gone on long enough, I guess. But there is more, including in a sub-headline, reversing “reverse”, so it looks like several paragraphs are going to discuss “reserve” mortgages, whatever they may be. And it is stated that both HUD and the FHA have taken a particular position, when in fact the FHA is a component of HUD. And “are” and “is” are mixed up in a number of places. Oh, well.

I should give credit where credit is due, so I will compliment “Jewish Week” on the new design for what they now call “Ten Days”, giving a list of events, concerts, readings, speakers, etc. over a ten day period, replacing the very confusing way these events had been listed in the past.

But overall, boy, they really need to get their act together on the basics. We will see what happens with substance.

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