Sunday, July 30, 2006

Wunderkind Buys Observer, Promptly Learns Hard Lesson in Journalism

So 25-year-old rich kid and MBA-in-training Jared Kushner bought the Observer today, and, wanting to be taken very seriously right from the start, released this (partial) statement, with lots of big, important-sounding words, to its staff:

We find ourselves at a crossroads in the newspaper business. The balance of printed and online content is undergoing an unprecedented adjustment and the way we deliver our product—first-rate journalism—continues to evolve. Together we will navigate this challenge with perseverance and innovation. The only promise I will make on the business front is to keep a completely open mind. At 25 and with only non-publishing related business experience, I am now equipped with two of the finest tools that a publisher could ever have; (sic) this fine staff, and the inquisitive energy needed to tackle convention.


Convention indeed, Jared. You need a complete clause after a semicolon. What you wanted was a colon.

A hard-won first lesson in championing a print media empire: run it past an editor before you run it anywhere else. They don't teach you that at Stern, kid.

Brian said...

Don't worry; according to trying-to-look smart people everywhere, the semicolon has plenty of recently discovered crazy uses. It seems it's popular to think of it as the newer, chicer-looking comma, particularly when listing things in a sentence.

Don't forget to get milk; bread; butter; and cereal at the store.

Streisand_Disciple said...

I've also discovered that the semicolon is a completely different animal for legal writing. Basically, if you're making lists of three-word or longer phrases, you're using a semicolon.

Also, I read the link you provided about the whiz kid's purchase, and I don't understand why the Houston Texan's QB is all up in arms about who buys a newspaper.

Brian said...

"Basically, if you're making lists of three-word or longer phrases, you're using a semicolon."

I too have seen this and find it kind of annoying. I also do read too much legal writing so ...

Brian said...

Do? That should be 'don't'. Ugh.

EvilBeet said...

I think the technical rule is that you use semicolons in lists if the terms in your list involve commas themselves, like "John bought bananas, his favorite fruit; soap, which his mother requested; and rock cocaine, which is better purchased below 42nd."

Streisand_Disciple said...

I know lists of sentences always take semicolons even if there're no commas involved.

EvilBeet said...

Right but I think maybe they are required if the terms use commas? I'm not sure...

Medical Blog said...

The only promise I will make on the business front is to keep a completely open mind.