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Wrote to my Newspaper for the First Time

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Wrote to my Newspaper for the First Time

Old 01-18-22, 09:11 PM
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Alligator
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Wrote to my Newspaper for the First Time

I was reading an article in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), and I noticed that the author had chosen the words poorly for the article about a pedestrian that was killed. I remember hearing that there were new media guidelines for journalists who reported on road collisions, including those involving cyclists. Here is an article about the guidelines from Forbes.

The article in the Star Tribune talked about how an “SUV hits and kills girl, 6…” This frustrated me. It wasn’t the car that hit and killed her, it was the driver. This is what I fear every day commuting by bike. I actually wrote to the paper to suggest they educate their staff about these guidelines. I hope it helps educate the public going forward. This was a tragic death, and the words chosen to report it matters.
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Old 01-18-22, 11:09 PM
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The new guidelines you refer to are for the U.K.
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Old 01-18-22, 11:11 PM
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Well she was hit by the SUV not the driver. SUV was controlled by the driver just like if someone gets hit by a baseball at a game should they say the batter hit them?
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Old 01-19-22, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Well she was hit by the SUV not the driver. SUV was controlled by the driver just like if someone gets hit by a baseball at a game should they say the batter hit them?
The batter at a baseball game has zero control over the ball once he hits it. The driver of a vehicle is expected to be in control of his/her vehicle at all times.

I was hit - by a car controlled by a driver - while cycling a few years back. I sued the driver, not the car. I won.
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Old 01-19-22, 05:42 AM
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if society as well as the laws are unwilling or unable to understand the intended use of those words published...... that's just sad. ugh
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Old 01-19-22, 09:17 AM
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n any case, I share your outrage about this. Journalists are the people whose articles give us first-hand information. Therefore, it is important that everything is written correctly and without unnecessary exaggeration. I found and read the full info about the importance of developing critical thinking in journalists. The peculiarities of the profession are to correctly weigh the information and impartially convey the facts. Which, unfortunately, not everyone can do. As we can see, this error with the truck caused a lot of dissonances.

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Old 01-19-22, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Well she was hit by the SUV not the driver. SUV was controlled by the driver just like if someone gets hit by a baseball at a game should they say the batter hit them?
If someone is shot, we say that X person shot the victim. We don't say the victim was shot by a gun sans an agent. In a baseball game we expect baseballs to fly into the stands, but we don't expect to get shot or hit by cars.

Reverse the outcome to something positive. If something good happens, do we remove the actor/agent from the action? No, of course not.
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Old 01-19-22, 10:27 AM
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There are many times where stories like this don't even mention any driver. It's all about the victim and the car.
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Old 01-19-22, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
The batter at a baseball game has zero control over the ball once he hits it. The driver of a vehicle is expected to be in control of his/her vehicle at all times.

I was hit - by a car controlled by a driver - while cycling a few years back. I sued the driver, not the car. I won.

If the story started out saying girl hit by driver and killed it would be stating he punched her. As I said she was hit by the car not the driver.
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Old 01-19-22, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Well she was hit by the SUV not the driver. SUV was controlled by the driver just like if someone gets hit by a baseball at a game should they say the batter hit them?
The to be accurate the piece should say---------------------an SUV driven by X hit a pedestrian. Or a driver (his name) driving in his SUV hit a pedestrian, or a cyclist.

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Old 01-19-22, 12:40 PM
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I really don't worry much about getting hit by a driver--I'll probably just hit him back. I worry a lot more about getting hit by the SUV.

These word games are stupid and beside the point.
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Old 01-19-22, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas View Post
If someone is shot, we say that X person shot the victim. We don't say the victim was shot by a gun sans an agent. In a baseball game we expect baseballs to fly into the stands, but we don't expect to get shot or hit by cars.

Reverse the outcome to something positive. If something good happens, do we remove the actor/agent from the action? No, of course not.

Nonsense. It's often the case that we don't know who the shooter or the driver are (hit and run).

You really think "Bill was shot to death in a bar fight" is an unusual construction?

Every time this stuff comes up, someone claims something silly like "we don't call plane crashes accidents", which is literally what the NTSB calls them. Basically, the rhetorical trick is apparently to assert a construction that people use all of the time in other contexts is never used in other contexts.

And to your last point "Waitress receives $4000 tip" is a kind of headline I see a fair amount of.
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Old 01-19-22, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
There are many times where stories like this don't even mention any driver. It's all about the victim and the car.

I don't believe you. Link to some examples, should be easy if it's common. The story may say something like "the driver did not stop and is unidentified" or "police have not yet named the driver", but those are accurate statements and won't count.
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Old 01-19-22, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
The to be accurate the piece should say---------------------an SUV driven by X hit a pedestrian.
Something like this?
The state patrol identified the driver as Anne Marie Reynolds, 48, of nearby Garrison.
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Old 01-19-22, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Something like this?

I guess the problem is people can't fit enough words into the headline to satisfy everyone.
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Old 01-19-22, 06:01 PM
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I don't know. Reading that story, there is a lot more to be upset about, than the words the author chose for the headline and opening sentence. They may not even have written the headline! The story may have been edited after submission to fit CONVENTIONS of efficiency. Completely missed in the o.p. are the tragic circumstances surrounding the incident that will likely exonerate the driver. What's going on?

This isn't even cycling related. Are things so slow that we have to drag in pedestrians and abandoned children as grist for the 'drivers are horrible' screed? Relevant story here: A colleague came up to me as I was wheeling my bike out one day. They told me how very concerned they were for my safety on my bike. They related how a friend of theirs, convinced that they were being run down by a mad cager bent on killing them, threw themselves off their bike, at speed, into the ditch, and they are now paralyzed. That's what 'fear' does. The o.p.'s 'fear' is more of a danger to them than any amount of bad drivers can be.

I didn't have the heart to tell my colleague that chances are huge that their friend needlessly destroyed their formerly good health through irrational fear, and that a cyclist that follows good visibility and road safety practices has little to 'fear' when out and about. Yeah, spit sometimes happens, but that story wasn't the best example of a driver that needed to be dragged into the spotlight.
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Old 01-19-22, 09:57 PM
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Good on you, @Alligator, for doing something instead of just coming here to complain. The writer may not have chosen the headline; it's usually up to the editor, but at least he used "crash" instead of "accident".

It's definitely tragic. A small child on a dark highway at 10:45 at night in January begs a lot of questions. For once, I feel sorry for the driver. That's gotta be rough.
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Old 01-19-22, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I guess the problem is people can't fit enough words into the headline to satisfy everyone.
uh, oh. Can this thread be saved?

There's always the same handful of people with the same predictable responses poo-pooing every thread.

https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/1234691-useless-forum-can-saved.html

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Old 01-20-22, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
uh, oh. Can this thread be saved?

There's always the same handful of people with the same predictable responses poo-pooing every thread.

The Useless Forum, and can it be saved?
Saved from what exactly? Yes, I think obsessing on sentence construction and word choice is an idiotic advocacy strategy. This thread, which is about a story that absolutely nothing to do with cycling is completely about the absurd proposition that you shouldn't notice that it's being struck by the vehicle that kills you, not being hit by the driver.

So are you admitting you can't find articles where there's no mention of a driver? It wouldn't be the first time you got indignant after saying something you couldn't support.

Of course there's debate here, you have a problem with that?

BTW, speaking of predictable poo-poo responses, this is probably the tenth time you've trotted out that insipid "can this thread be saved" line.

​​​​​

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Old 01-22-22, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
I was reading an article in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), and I noticed that the author had chosen the words poorly for the article about a pedestrian that was killed. I remember hearing that there were new media guidelines for journalists who reported on road collisions, including those involving cyclists. Here is an article about the guidelines from Forbes.

The article in the Star Tribune talked about how an “SUV hits and kills girl, 6…” This frustrated me. It wasn’t the car that hit and killed her, it was the driver. This is what I fear every day commuting by bike. I actually wrote to the paper to suggest they educate their staff about these guidelines. I hope it helps educate the public going forward. This was a tragic death, and the words chosen to report it matters.
Wicked awesome that you've written to a newspaper. Please, don't let this thread derail you from doing so again and again in the future. (I'm guessing many of the people in this thread have NEVER written to a newspaper.)

-mr. bill
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Old 01-22-22, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Wicked awesome that you've written to a newspaper. Please, don't let this thread derail you from doing so again and again in the future. (I'm guessing many of the people in this thread have NEVER written to a newspaper.)
Personally, I've never felt the need to write to a U.S. newspaper to advise them of U.K. guidelines, which is what the OP did.
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Old 01-31-22, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Personally, I've never felt the need to write to a U.S. newspaper to advise them of U.K. guidelines, which is what the OP did.
This.
I agree with the overall sentiment of OP but maybe he should first educate himself on jurisdiction before linking articles and writing letters
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Old 01-31-22, 04:15 PM
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I'm perfectly fine with the headline as written. My brain subconsciously discounts the VERY slim possibility that the SUV was perhaps just rolling along unattended.
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Old 02-01-22, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Personally, I've never felt the need to write to a U.S. newspaper to advise them of U.K. guidelines, which is what the OP did.
Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
This.
I agree with the overall sentiment of OP but maybe he should first educate himself on jurisdiction before linking articles and writing letters
Maybe you two should write to the Minneapolis Tribune to correct the egregious "error" by the OP?

Or maybe, just maybe, a more helpful suggestion to the OP could have referred to the Minneapolis Tribune iteself?

(FWIW, the AP has since revised their style guide to prefer crash or collision, not accident, whenever the facts of the incident are still being investigated. And last I checked, the Associated Press is an American non-profit news agency.)

Which is why the article refers to "crash" because of "...the continuing investigation of the incident."

(Opinion, it will take another decade before the AP revises the style guide to stop giving sentience to inanimate objects.)

-mr. bill

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Old 02-01-22, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post

(Opinion, it will take another decade before the AP revises the style guide to stop giving sentience to inanimate objects.)

-mr. bill
Stating that one object hit another doesn't imply any sentience on the part of the hitting object, only motion. You can get hit by a falling rock, a stray bullet, a meteorite, or a bolt of lightning (we more commonly use "struck" for that but it's a synonym, and "hit by lightning" is also used). Of that list, only the stray bullet necessarily implies any human agency.

"Driver hits" is too ambiguous as "driver" is a job title and, as I've said above, if I have to choose, I'd rather be hit by a human being than an SUV.

I think the objections to the word "accident" are completely bogus, but obviously, the AP has decided it's easier to just avoid its use. That will be the trend, and in five years, we'll see people come up with some reason "crash" and "collision" should be avoided.
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