Munmun O’Neill, I don’t know you. After reading your embarrassingly bad story on the birth of tennis player Lindsay Davenport’s new baby boy, I hope that I never meet you.
It’s obvious that you haven’t been in your job for long. Who could make errors like these and still keep a job in the writing field — or ANY field?!
The quality of the stories published on People.com used to be impeccable. Errors were nowhere to be found, and the journalistic tone was perfect — friendly enough for middle-aged Midwestern housewives to get their soft news fix each week, but professional enough for the intellectual and intelligent to appreciate as a credible news source.
That isn’t happening anymore.
The quality has gone down quickly and sharply. I have a theory about that. Though many big stories are initially published on People.com, the site has to compete with celebrity blogs like Perez Hilton and TMZ, and my personal favorite, Dlisted. I think that in the world of blogs, where timeliness is essential, the magazine has cut off some of its steps to publication in favor of getting the news out as soon as possible.
Being a competitor for celebrity blogs may have also affected their standards for hiring writers, but I doubt that. I would imagine that getting a job writing for People is such a great job that only the very best writers would be hired.
As a result, stories like the following get published:
Tennis Star Lindsay Davenport Has a Boy
By Munmun O’Neill
Tennis star Lindsay Davenport can now add motherhood to her list of impressive titles.
On Sunday, Davenport and her husband, Jonathan Leach, welcomed thier first child, a son named Jagger Jonathan Leach, her rep confirms. The baby, who weighed in 8 lbs., 1 oz, was born at 6:15 p.m. in Newport Beach, Calif.
“Lindsay and Jon are ecstatic and Jagger is healthy and doing great,” Davenport’s agent, Ted Godsick, told PEOPLE Tuesday.
Davenport, 31, and Leach, got married in 2003. They announced they were expecting in December of last year. The pregnancy prevented Davenport from competing this season.
I’m so disgusted, I can barely look at the page. And it’s not because of the kid’s name.
Who, in this day and age, spells the word “their” incorrectly?! Oh my God!! I honestly think that I may vomit.
There are still tons and tons of people, most of whom are not professional writers, who mix up “their,” “there” and “they’re.” While that is unforgivable in itself, it seems even worse that a professional writer would mess up the spelling!
The next sentence involves the usage of an extraneous comma. The comma after Leach is inexcusable. It’s terrible; it reminds me of reading classmates’ essays in middle school.
Davenport has an age, but Leach clearly does not. To make the sentence correct, it would be best to remove the extraneous comma.
Even if the comma weren’t there, however, the sentence would still be awkward. Either both or neither ages should be listed. I would change it to, “Davenport and Leach were married in 2003,” or maybe, “Davenport and Leach married in 2003.”
“Got married” sounds awkward. It’s tough to make the word “got” sound professional.
I may be a bit unfair in placing all of the blame on Munmun O’Neill. Even though her name appears on this story, she surely had an editorial board to get through, even if it was just one editor. How could any editor, in any field, anywhere in the Anglophone world, miss these atrocious errors?
Still, I highly doubt that Munmun O’Neill had a perfect story that an editor intentionally changed to be incorrect. And for that reason, Munmun O’Neill, you have been flagged by the Grammar Vandal.