Who do they write for – readers or peers ?

Thought I knew enough English to be able to read today’s newspapers. A recent issue of The Times of india,  the paper I once worked for,  exposed my  inadequacy.   For instance,  I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘ideate till I read this report on a Bangalore HRs meet.  In my  days – 1970s-80s –  we didn’t give much thought  to working conditions ; HR people today talk of  ‘architecting  work environment to unleash positivity’.

Another  bit HR wisdom from TOI news report:   “Strategic workforce planning is essential for aligning an organisation’s human capital programme with its current and emerging mission and programmatic goals. Also, it’s vital in developing long-term strategies for acquiring, developing and retaining employees to achieve programmatic goals,”

I doubt if such  gi*****sh  would have found print  space in TOI of my days. The then editor Girilal Jain used to tell reporters :  keep it  straight, keep it simple ; and write for readers,  not your peers. Girilal’s style-book wouldn’t have allowed us to ‘ideate’ or to use the word  ‘pressured or pressurised’ .  ‘OK’ wasn’t okay in the paper he edited.

Newspaper  editors in my generation  –  Frank Mores,  M  Chalapathi Rau,  and E Narayanan of  ‘Patriot’ – were not particularly known for  self- discipline in their work life.  It is unlikely that  they  had heard of  ‘progressive discipline‘ .  Their idiocyncracies were a factor of  their work style .  I can’t see any of them clearing HR test, let alone becoming newspaper editor in the current office environment that seeks to unleash positivity among work force.  In case you are clueless on ‘progressive discipline ,  TOI report  defines it as a process for dealing with job-related behaviour that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards.

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7 Responses

  1. gibberish! That’s the fasion of today’s journalism!

  2. We will just have to equip ourselves with teh latest dictionary (assuming they will have theses strange words) and grin and bare it.
    We must remember we write to communicate and for readers to understand, not confuse them.

  3. As with everything thats “funky ” and “cool” , modern english language too gets its makeover done in USA and gets shipped all over ( esp. to youth in India, with Stars -and Stripes -in their eyes). I first heard the word Ideate in an America-made TV ad. where one of the characters ( dumb a me) even asks “whats that mean ?” 😉

    The newfangled , jargon ridden English scores high on the ” Fuzzy Index” ; brevity is certainly not its soul ; but it is godsent for writers / speakers who love to sound off without saying much.

  4. Like ‘luxuriate’ or ‘urinate’which would have given them the need to ‘Ideate’, words like ‘Lazeate’ will follow soon!

  5. People these days seem to be very fond of creating their own new words or maybe I should more appropriately call them ‘neologisms’ in keeping with today’s literary etiquette. They seem to be doing this not just to give readers the impression that their language skills are a niche above ours but to deliberately confuse and confound us just to hide their inability to express clearly what they want to convey.These days I find myself starting to read many articles with interesting titles only to abandon them after just a few sentences because I find the language heavy or because they fail to make sense. When it comes to writing, both the style the language are very important and in making an impact the simplest is still the best.

  6. Recently, two of my guests , both with a flair for words, happened to draw my attention to an article by a known blogger in his blog saying he is good. Encouraged, I read the item only to end up my reading joy being robbed by a couple of glaringly erroneous usages. When I aired my views, at variance with theirs, they both argued that that (the errors) should not take away the credit from the blogger. To my relief, they included themselves when they silenced me with their concluding remark: “We are outdated.” Grammatical/Idiomatic usage is a thing of the past.

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