If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Friday, 26 January 2018


Screaming headlines often do a good job of amplifying whispered points in a newspaper article. The main objective may well be to spark further debate. But at times, it appears like the editorial input extends to adding salt or an insult, to drive the point way past home.

In the headline above, what exactly is the intention? To question the abilities of the subject in question?

Or does it also want to raise the possibility of the subject having personal attributes that don't augur well with the management of a public office?

I'm not sure any of these purported observations could entirely be within the confines of fair comment.

This kind of scrutiny of a public officer could also be crossing the line that offers a private individual protection from undue ridicule and public disaffection.

You can question the performance of bestowed duties, but personalising the attack may be wandering away from serving public interest, and result in being served with a lawsuit.

An offensive sentence could yield a sentence!

Thursday, 18 January 2018


It's been almost a week now. And yet the puzzle has adamantly remained unresolved. Many younglings are bound to have given up almost immediately. But a poor soul somewhere could still be in agony, having been made to feel intellectually inadequate. And yet it could as well be a case of looking for Caesar's missing scissors.

The illustration is very clear but there's hardly any clarity in the accompanying instructions.

Normally, one would happily be already counting down the required objects within minutes.

But a minute detail seems to be amiss here. The task is:
Find eight pairs of scissors in the library
The picture, however, depicts an underwater scenario.

And try as much as one possibly can to spot them, there's not a single pair of scissors in sight.

It's not right for a national newspaper to subject especially its young readers, to such a wild goose chase, due to an editorial oversight!

Friday, 12 January 2018


The beginning of a broadcast news story, newspaper article or even online news post is a very critical element. It summarises the main points or facts in a way that grabs one's attention, but still leaves one yearning to partake of the rest of the content. An intro should not be overworked.

It's easy to understand why scriptwriters, reporters or editors would be highly tempted to craft an elaborate lead in.

This, it is hoped, would better entice or hook the audience, and also sustain interest in their content.

But it's better to keep it simple, because natural storytelling would not usually involve bombarding the content consumer with complicated details, or an overload of facts, at the very beginning of the engagement.

Indeed, trying to cram too much information in that initial encounter with the interlocutor, is likely to be an impediment to sustaining further interest.

In this newspaper article, the first paragraph is a typical example of trying to say:

Too much...too soon. Too bad!

There is somebody, who is an astronaut, the most experienced in America, who walked on the moon, was part of the Apollo mission, and a commander of the first space shuttle mission...

Why squeeze all those details in the beginning sentence?

How is the reader expected to process that information overload, without exceeding the brain load capacity?

It's no wonder the sub-editor also got lost in this windy and wordy maze, and actually left out the one detail that made the intro to be devoid of any clarity.

This needs to change like yesterday! (hint, hint).

Friday, 5 January 2018


It's an issue that's hardly been given attention in public discussions. Some might even say it's a matter of private discretion. And yet it's of great public interest. It's a real shame. But one that must be undressed and addressed. That's the surest way of finding a solution, in line with the agenda setting role of the media.

Right, to help us understand this pressing issue, I am joined in studio by a high-powered panel. On my immediate left is A, an expert in internal affairs, under the garment sector. Next to him is B, who is a published authority on gents and pathogens.

And on my right is C. She is an award-winning designer of intimate wear, specialising in briefs. Next to her is our resident analyst D, a qualified social scientist.

You can also join and follow this conversation online, using the hashtag #justiceforveterans.

Before we begin our discussion, let's bring you live pictures from one of the many homesteads, where this issue is playing itself out.

On the right of your screen you can see some of the weary combatants, and it seems like there's some tension building up with the new arrivals.

Let's listen in.

Okay. My director tells me the audio quality is not very good. But the silence in this live video clip is perhaps symbolic of the dilemma encountered every time one has to make this critical decision. It's sort of like a silent war playing out in one's head.

Allow me to now bring in the panelists. And I'll start with you A.

What are your thoughts on whether or not to let go, after receiving exemplary service.

A: I think, first of all, there should be due recognition of the tremendous role played by these most burdened delicates. However, there's a significant amount of wear and tear over time, and so inevitably, the collective function will become more important than individual fabrics.

Do you agree C? Are we saying they are not woven to last?

C: Oh yes!. I strongly feel time has come for them to be given performance based contracts, as opposed to making them permanent and pensionable.

But D, isn't this setting up the system to continuously compel somebody to enlist newer services, of course at a considerable expense and profit to the likes of C?

D: Indeed. This is a classic case of a reversed dependency syndrome, as articulated in the theory of societal deception. They make it look like its a highly necessary requirement, but on the reverse of it, assure themselves of a sustainable demand for their products.

Well, according to the findings of a recent study, there are serious health risk if there's an over-reliance on the same service providers. B, briefly talk us through the process of degeneration and build-up of toxicity, especially prevalent in heavy-hitting boxers?

B: It has clinically been proven that the density of germs per square millimetre, is directly proportional to the duration of service. In other words, the more you continue putting a small number of service providers on frequent rotation deployment, the more exposed you are to disease causing pathogens.

C: Hold on. Production standards have greatly improved. The material used is pre-treated and designed to repel micro-organisms. I can confidently vouch for these inner attributes.

D: But can you equally vouch for the physical attributes of the wearer?

C: I don't know about you, but I have no reason to doubt myself.

A: That's a very low blow.

D: Apologise C.

C: For stating the obvious?

Okay. We all need to calm down.

B: Allow me to say this...

D: I need an apology or I walk out.....this is uncouth....uncivilised...un...

C: Ungentlemanly!

Right, we have to take a break to allow the tension to cool down. See you after a short while.


Welcome back. I want to believe temperatures have now tapered and we can now have a meaningful debate. We all seem to be in agreement that a time will come to eventually let go. But first, I need A to explain to us why it's so hard to go separate ways with our battle-hardened inner protectors?

A: Well, there's quite a significant emotional connection that many might not want to acknowledge. These intimate companions have witnessed a lot, and shared with the wearer interesting, or even embarrassing experiences.

So, how does one go about letting go and should the decision be forced or voluntary?

D: That depends on the level of attachment.

B: I think it shouldn't be forced, and one should be given adequate time to prepare for the separation.

C: Some people though need a little bit of pushing. And it pays to be creative in executing such a covert operation. I...I...I don't know if I'm allowed to give a personal example?

Go right ahead.

C: Well, you see...Any time I notice that some delicates are overstaying their welcome, and there's no sign of separation happening soon, I engineer the disappearance of identified veterans.

You mean, you use trickery to effect the desired change?

C: You can say so, but it's borne out of necessit...

Hold that thought. We have a caller on the line. Yes hello. Please tell us your name and where you are tuning in from. Then your comment or question.

Caller: Let me go straight to the point. I'm in no mood for niceties. For a long time, I have been wondering why my favourite servicemen periodically exit the scene, without being debriefed. I usually conclude they are just missing in action, hoping to one day get reunited with the outstanding loin goalkeepers, many of whom have gone over and beyond the call of duty. Never did I even suspect there was an enemy within that had infiltrated the ranks of the drawers.

I'm sorry, but I'm a bit confused by your observations. Are you saying somebody has been raiding your collection of undercover agents? And C, why are you panting?

C: Er..ehh...mmm...

Caller: I demand to be reunited with all my missing aide de camps!!!

Alright. We have run out of time. It has been a most illuminating discussion. I leave you with the words of a certain wise man:
Don't be quick to get your knickers in a knot!