Wednesday, October 8, 2014

News and views: a critique.

I'm mostly commenting on newspaper stuff (from ST; I no longer get TODAY delivered)...

I don't know what's going on at ST. This is the most important "straight news" story of the day and its headline wastes space on a hackneyed cliche, "All bets are off"! In any case, the subsidiary headline is actually the main headline... that an important gambling control legislation has come into law.

The contrast is stark when one sees the correctly headlined summary on the Page A4 inside page:

The intro in the Page 1 lead story is unsatisfactory too, as it does not give the crux of the story... that while  the new law has been passed, MPs were concerned about provisions for "exempted operators" -- code word for operator/operators approved by the State. Again, the summary above did its job right and, indeed, should have been used as the intro for the page 1 lead story. This is no trifling matter. The page 1 lead story has to be "zero-defect", day after day.

Cliches are to be avoided (but, I would say, not banned) in a newspaper. This does not mean that headlines have to be dull as this Home page headline amply shows, that is, it works!...


The best story I read today is this one... from its cheeky intro to its cheeky last paragraph (it is very readable and informative too). The headline is, well, brilliant!...

Incidentally, the writer is an expert at persuasion; he and his fellow behavioural economist Richard H. Thaler developed "Nudge" -- the crafting of ideas/policies to persuade people to willingly do things, like paying their income tax on time.

Prof Sunstein's commentary in The Guardian is also worth a read:

There's a backlash against nudging – but it was never meant to solve every problem


Finally, letters in ST Forum this week were very good too...

Now they are proudly identifying themselves as pioneers -- regardless of whether they fought the communists or communalists -- and asking, "Please, sir, can I have more?"

Here's another letter on the PGers...

No, Dr Leong, I think "some pioneers may be wealthy" is an underestimation. We do not know the figures, and I doubt if we will ever be told.

As for this letter-writer below, loosen up! What's wrong with SIN-ning (it is certainly more eye-catching than SGP)...

Last letter here is a joint reply from two "relevant authorities". First, I'll put here the reader's letter that led to the joint reply:

Now the reply:

Read it any way you like. To me, it is an admission of "guilty as charged" without admitting explicitly to being guilty as charged. But then, I guess that is how bureaucracies react.

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