independent

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Why Wexford, Waterford and Wicklow are confused so much

Fun loving, latte supping, Generation Y'ers
Fun loving, latte supping, Generation Y'ers

David Looby

Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford have been in existence as independent, distinct counties for centuries.

I just wish someone could alert 'journalists' and online contributors/copy writers/content purveyors of this fact.

At a time when newspapers are closing and people are losing their jobs, it is disconcerting how often national newspapers, broadcasters and blog writers get basic Irish geographical facts wrong. Sometimes the consequences of copy errors are little more than embarrassing for everyone concerned, but one thing this job teaches you is that behind every name, there is a person and a person has a reputation, a county; a person can sue, a person should be respected. The sheer volume of information thrown our way through social media websites is overwhelming and I, for one, envy people who don't have to spend hours trawling through Facebook and Twitter each week, mentally bloated on news feeds, while being targeted by online corporate hawkers, campaigners and other dross.

Irish geography is something children learn about in third class. Just because the three counties skirting the lower spine of our teddy bear shaped country have names beginning with W, it doesn't mean that they are all the same. I've lost track of the number of times a story's intro begins with something like: Justin Trudeau's family hail from Wexford, only for the article to reveal sentences later that his family hail from County Waterford. Is a la carte factual reporting a thing that is en vogue at the moment? I would argue, yes. I have also come across some of the worst journalism I have ever witnessed - and I don't mean spelling errors, incorrect use of tenses or poor punctuation. In one intro alone on an online 'news' page, I noticed five mistakes in an intro spanning all of two sentences. It was as if the journalist was drunk or writing from a deck chair while getting a back rub.

As a former editor of mine told me: 'Writing is a craft. You're not going to pay someone to hang a door for you if it's crooked.'

I was also advised when I was starting off, all wide eyed and fresh faced into this career, to treat every story the same, big and small, and that is a good starting point. Today the craft is a trendy hobby for some.

Maybe the Millenial generation born between 1985 and 1995 are too busy flitting from webpage to webpage, fantasy to fantasy, to have much truck with boring old facts.

I am an Xennial, apparently, having had the great fortune of being born during the era when three of the best Star Wars films were released (1977 to 1983). Not to be confused with generation X'ers (people born between the 1960s and the early 1980s), or generation Y'ers (also known as Millennials, born between about 1980 and 2000). Imagine the confusion for online content writers in these letters of the alphabet labels!

Next up are the Snowflakes (Generation Z apparently), who could also become known as the Butterfly generation due to overexposure to tablet webpages.

Maybe The Whirlwind Princess and The Little Fella will be part of a new, reactionary, nature loving, level headed, grounded Generation A.

One things for sure, they will know the map of Ireland a lot better than the Generation Y'ers polluting my news feeds with their mish mash of mistruths. In these heady days of Tinder, sex robots and a la carte 'journalism', Voltaire's remark 'Common sense is not so common any more,' rings truer than the day he coined the phrase.

Gorey Guardian

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