Was a 13-year-old Mexican Boy Given 20 Years For Defending His Mother? Doubtful. Here’s Why.

On June 16, 2017, a change.org petition was created to advocate for the reduced sentence for a boy who supposedly used his father’s gun to shoot someone he believed was assaulting his mother, in her self defense. According to the petition, the boy received “20 years” in prison for his heroism.

One of the largest spreaders of the story was this tweet:

However, the petition and thereby tweet uses the photograph of a kid from a different story. The kid in the photo was actually from a “Bronx bully” story by this NY Daily News article.

The petition’s source article is in Spanish, but a google search for the photo of the dead assailant from the petition’s source is actually from yet another article reported by this Red-Accion.mx article about someone named Iván Salgado Quintín, who was killed during a bar robbery.

A search for Spanish keywords about the story, brings up this TVNotas.com.mx story, which doesn’t cite any sources and has more ads than sentences. This Provincia.com.mx article also comes up, but both of these only suggest the sentencing will happen in the future, not that it has happened.

This English-translated article seems to be written by a writer named La Polvorita, possibly “Jessica Sanchez” who also uses the same Bronx boy and dead bar thief as images.

This Veobook article, and this Mundo Y Salud article repeat the same basic story, although the latter gives a few more details, but still continues to republish the same fake images.

If such a self-defense shooting did actually occur, and a 13-year old was actually sentenced, then story isn’t very well researched or documented, since it uses 2 different photographs pulled from 2 unrelated articles, perhaps using the cover of Spanish-language translation to thwart fact-checkers. No Mexican officials are listed as announcing results, no national-media journalist articles, no broadcast media articles, no particular court listed, etc.

While I would say it’s entirely possible this /might/ have happened, every reference that I can find to the reporting of it doesn’t really meet genuine journalistic standards and seem to be entirely from gossip sites. Signing the petition wouldn’t do any harm, necessarily, and if true, could do some good if effective toward a real story which I can’t confirm to suit my personal authenticity/fact-checking standards.

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Did Bernie Sanders Impose a Religious Test? NO. Here’s Why.

Making the rounds is a video about Bernie Sanders, who attempts to apply a line of questioning to a nominee for a government position. Bernie’s question involves whether the nominee’s writing of the Christian concept of a final judgment, is “Islamophobic” and many sites are reporting the line of questioning as a “religion test” as if Bernie is demanding the nominee renounce his faith.

Watch the video for yourself:

I am a Christian, and I believe there will, at some point in the future, be a throne-judgment of the peoples of the world to separate those who have trusted in Christ’s merit on their behalf rather than their own merit, differentiated from those who insist on their own merit or another non-Christ’s merit for worthiness.

However, I do NOT believe Sanders was imposing any kind of religious test, NOR requiring the nominee to renounce his faith — but rather was posing a religion-related which sought to be preventative of persecution, to ensure the nominee’s equal application of the law once in authority. Bernie’s question isn’t unconstitutional, but addresses whether the nominee’s application of the law could become unconstitutional because of his faith.

Imagine if you had the opportunity to add a credible voice of your approval or disapproval, of someone who would take office, who might use their faith as a scapegoat for applying the law unfairly to certain groups that their religion frowned upon — before they were able to take office and abuse their authority. This is what Bernie’s line of questioning seeks to establish to me. He’s not imposing a test to see whether the nominee will renounce his faith — it has nothing to do with whether he entrusts his own worth to Christ’s worth, but whether his belief about the members of Islam will be an excuse to unfairly treat members of Islam once he had gained office.

Bernie, to me, is asking essentially, “would you use this idea, of the condemnation of a certain type of person, as a basis to apply the law unequally or unfairly to members of that group, using your faith as an excuse?” The need to find out whether the nominee is making an Islamophobic statement is necessary, to ensure equal protection of all citizens, constitutionally, and to ensure the nominee will not abuse the authority granted to him, using his belief of condemnation as scapegoat.

I think the nominee answers to the question Bernie is asking, and also tries to point out that Bernie’s reference to the statement is out of context and attempting to re-assert its original context, but I think ultimately Bernie’s line of questioning is appropriate.

I disagree with Bernie’s final remark, because the nominee did assure the equal respect of all persons but Bernie seemed to fail to realize it.

It was a tense moment, and I think it could have been handled better by both people, but it’s difficult to form the words on the spot and under such pressure.

Is The MSM Distracting The Public From Other News? No. Here’s Why.

Is the mainstream media (MSM) conspiring to distract the attention of the public from other more important topics? No, it isn’t, and here’s why you’re an idiot if you think so: your knowledge of the event does not affect the event. You are not Superman, and therefore do not need to know immediately when something happens so that you may swoop in and affect it, in a way that matters one event to another. If you know about one news item sooner than another, those news items still transpire the same, with or without your knowledge of them.

Is there some shadowy cabal of news agencies bent on trying to distract you from one enormous government scandal, with constant updates about some missing airliner? No, Tom Clancy, there isn’t. That would just be you, making excuses, for your own failure to realize that (a) you have direct control over which news items you personally encounter, and (b) your knowledge of any given news item matters approximately zero to the outcome or fallout of that news item.

Imagine two individuals: Person 1, a little girl playing with her teddy bears at home; Person 2, some plumber listening to an AM-radio host yammering endlessly about the mainstream media’s failure to disclose x-y-z details about a top government official’s ties to another country. Both individuals are not focused on some school shooting or whatever, happening at that very moment.

Whether either individual is aware of the school shooting, does not affect the school shooting. The level of impact, for both individuals about the school shooting, toward the school shooting, is the same. The ability for Person 1 to voice her opinions about Justin Bieber to her teddy bears gathered for a tea party, and the ability for Person 2 to post their official emoji reaction on Facebook to any given news item, impacts the news items the same amount.

There is no reason for a shadowy cabal of news agencies to conspire to divert the attention of your nation’s viewership away from a given topic, because the nation’s viewership of it impacts that news topic approximately zero, if not absolutely zero. Because it’s not like, you can’t look it up a few hours later, or maybe the next day, the next week, year, or decade. The timeliness of your response to knowledge of a particular news event is unimportant, because you are not part of it. You are not needing to know it, because you do not affect it.

Also, you, yourself, uniquely control what access to which news articles you personally consume. You possess that ability to change channels. You are not tied to a chair with your head in a restrictive clamp being subjected to specifically one news agency. Your own distraction from any given story is arguably your own fault. Who was it that tuned into that station? Who was it that didn’t walk out of the room, or picked up that specific newspaper?

Was this shadow-media telekinetically making your face scowl at the burning of a church in Atlanta, so you would be distracted from the white officer shooting a black handicapped man in LA? Or was this same shadow-media mind controlling you to view the officer shooting instead of the burning church?

Your inability to realize you cannot possibly perceive all media outlets simultaneously, nor all processes of all editing rooms spacing/timing decisions, is on you.

Your child’s preoccupation with whether he placed in Diamond or Platinum on competitive matches in Overwatch when he should instead be studying for the spelling bee, is the same level of his own fault, as is yours toward having viewed one news agency’s offerings from another. Overwatch isn’t to blame for distracting him from the spelling bee, as much as one agency’s coverage of topic A isn’t to blame for your own having-been-unaware of another agency’s coverage of topic B, or neither’s coverage of topic C.

You are to blame for your own knowledge of any given news item. You don’t affect it anyway, so there’s no inherent need for you to know it one second sooner or one second later, either. Click your heels together, people who blame the mainstream media for distraction; you’ve had the power to direct your own attention to one topic or another, this whole time — not that you could affect the outcomes of either meaningfully to begin with.

New Type of Fiction Writing: Pit-Fic, or Pitch Fiction

I have been struggling to write a novel I’ve had in the works, for coming on about 20 years. I’ve tried a zillion different angles, bunches of false starts, thought of even trying it entirely in haiku at one point, but I kept wanting to go back and set up an even cooler foreshadowing, or having something specific happen for a really awesome callback, surprise twist, better dramatic motive later on by having someone die early on so having to change the dynamics of mourning early on instead of happy hobbiton-like beginning, etc.

I had gotten so bogged down in trying to figure out the way that I wanted to tell it, and recalling how I had set up with so many other people to read over it to see what they thought, that I really most enjoyed pitching the story itself to people in summary, rather than the writing of the story itself.

One day I came up with a completely separate idea, of a fictional race whose existence hinged on a not-quite-scientifically-accurate premise, and I pitched the idea to Ask Metafilter in 2006.

Years later (appx October 2015), after trying to think of a way to tell that story in a way that worked to my liking, I decided that I liked the discussion about the future written work more than the actual writing of the written work, that I created an extremely short story based on the discussion itself: a writer and an editor are discussing the writer’s idea for a story, with its potential greatness or potential flaws, and the story is told within that framework of a narrator and an observer of the narrator.

“I can’t figure out how to write this story. The physics of it are highly questionable.”
“Like what?”
“There’s a creature that makes first contact with mankind in present day, but they’re not aliens necessarily.”
“Do they live underground?”
“No, they travel by temperature degrees, like how we travel second by second forward through time.”
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
“And the creature didn’t think that time travelers like us could exist either, because since it defies all boundaries his science understands. He artificially extended his temperature age to reach one we can comprehend.”
“Well, there’s at least one way to tell this story.”
“Oh yeah? How?”
The End.

(and the answer to the final question, is the story itself)

Think a little how the film The Princess Bride is framed around a grandfather reading a story to a grandson, where the grandson periodically interjects questions about the story. Or, consider how the film The NeverEnding Story is centered on a boy reading a book, also observing his responses to what happens.

I was satisfied by this short discussion-of-the-story being the actual story, also partly because I had written another short story called Apology, in which the narrator describes the plight of someone who kept coming up with great ideas for a story, only to discover that someone else had beaten them to it and published/filmed/etc their version, and that he decided to write his own autobiography reasoning that surely no one else could beat him to that story — except I, the writer who invented him, beat him to it.

So, a pit-fic, or pitch-fiction, is a story that is framed within critique, troubleshooting, or otherwise discussion of a yet-non-existent story, but the discussion itself of the story is the story. It could be a great exercise to build how you want to write your story, by writing out the actual brainstorming process of the story as if it were dialogue between characters, and expressing doubts of the story’s coherence, addressing continuity issues, and other damage-control topics about the writing of the story, as an outer orbital launch vehicle transporting the payload of the story idea itself.

I would like to imagine that a publishing company could make a contest for submissions of actual novelized versions of a given pit-fic’s discussed story, and then choose, say, 1-4 winners, and publish all of those winners, with each being their own distinct universe that the original pit-fic established, using the discussion within the pit-fic as the official canon, embellishing otherwise as desired but staying true to the original pit-fic.

This pitch-fiction method is what sets the stage for my best example of one, and a set-in-stone version of the novel concept I had been agonizing over for so long — Pitching Vanguard.

Foods to Eat Without Teeth, and General Eating Tips Just After A Procedure

I recently lost most of my teeth from an oral surgery, and awaiting a two-month healing process before I get a full set of dentures. In the meantime, that’s two months of having to eat things without chewing them like I normally might. I’m actually less than a single week after my “e-day” and I’ve already come up with some weird ways to eat the foods I used to be able to, but without chewing, even while my gums are still sore, so here is my growing list (which will be updated as I add more) —

Obviously the list would include things like yogurt, gelatin-desserts, oatmeal, mashed potatoes or other mashed/strained veggies, but I was hoping to make a list better than just that kind of thing.

These items are just from my personal experience as working, so trying them yourself is at your own risk.

Snack cakes. I was able to pinch a corner of the softer snack cakes (like Little Debbie Zebra cakes) and mash them to the roof of my mouth with my tongue in order to make them small enough to swallow. I haven’t tried any of the ‘sharper’ cakes yet like Nutty Bars.

Hamburger meat. Instead of the usual chomp out of a patty, I tried pulling the cooked patty apart by hand (with napkin handy, because it gets messy), into the teensiest pieces I could manage, and then scoop the tiny hunks up with a spoon or fork, perhaps mixed with tiny blobs of favorite condiments. I was able to eat what totaled a single regular hamburger by hand-separating each ingredient into very teensy pellet-sized pieces and mixing them together like a bowl of cereal, and it tasted pretty much the same, just minus the ability to savor the flavor as well a I might by chewing them. The condiments made the drier texture shreds much easier to swallow. Make sure you get each little burger meat piece very very tiny, like VERY tiny.

Pringles chips. I haven’t tried many other chips yet, but I figured out that I could put about 5-7 pringles chips into a mug and use a spoon to crush them quite easily into almost powder, spoonful a heap into my mouth, and then let them sit in my mouth momentarily while saliva built up enough, just moving the spoonful around in your mouth away from the gums. Once it becomes mushy enough, swallow. Be very careful not to swallow too early while the spoonful is still too dry, because it can really scratch going down. Savor the flavor a bit, and mash it to the roof of your mouth to saturate the spoonful thoroughly. May help to take a very tiny sip of water to help move things along.

I chose Pringles to try first specifically because of how brittle they are normally even with teeth, so I assume if I can find some way to break up the tougher chips into basically crumbs, the same principle would work.

Dry cereal. I’m already a fan of using water instead of milk for my dry cereal, and cereals like Kellogg’s Fruit Loops are still manageable with no teeth, if you spoon yourself a small heap dry, and then take a tiny sip of water or milk, and holding it in your mouth until it becomes mushy enough to comfortably swallow. I haven’t tried rougher things like Raising Bran, but consider lots of caution before swallowing anything that isn’t already super mushy, otherwise you might really scratch something on the way down.

Well-cooked pasta. Pasta that is well-cooked, to the point of being very easily cut with a fork, works well for me, especially if something else is added to it that makes it super slippery, such as a cheapo chicken-noodle soup. I typically boil mine on max natural gas stove heat for about 16 minutes, and then draining it with a metal colander, and letting it set aside for several minutes to cool down. If you’re pretty fresh out of e-day, you need to be super careful about anything very hot to drink, so make sure it is well cooled enough. I’ve been able to swallow small spoons of small-elbow pasta directly, because it is a small enough and flexible enough, and is made slick enough to go right on down with minimal fuss. Avoid adding something like breading or crumbs that would make the pasta dry out too much.

I’ll add more as I think of them, or add your ideas in the comments =)

If you’re trying to eat things with little or no teeth, especially right after the procedure, I have a few general tips.

Dump, don’t slurp. In the first few days after your e-day (extraction/procedure day), avoid making any kind of suction action in your mouth, such as slurping soup or Jell-O from a spoon, and especially avoid drinking with a straw. Variation in pressure inside your mouth can possibly break the very fragile clotting in your gums necessary for healing and reduce you back to the bloody gauze stage all over again.

Instead of slurping off a spoon, practice tilting your head back a little, or opening your mouth wide, if you can, and letting the food slide off the spoon into your mouth. Re-enacting the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti scene will have to wait until you’re healed up better.

Train yourself to swallow with your lips parted. It can be done as practice without any food right now: try to swallow, with your mouth open. For those of us with super-sensitive gums right after the procedure, the very act of swallowing can put unnecessary pressure on them. If you can make the “knocking” or “tsk” sound by pulling your tongue off the roof of your mouth, then just keep your flattened tongue in the initial position for those sounds by pusing up on the roof of your mouth just inside the gum line away from any damage, and try to swallow. Your gums will hurt way less when swallowing this way, and will help to avoid disturbing any delicate healing built up.

Invest in an eyedropper. Just a very tiny amount of water will go a long way to help moistening food better like your own saliva does. In lieu of an eyedropper you can just sip tiny bits of water, but for more flavor from each mouthful, just a very tiny amount of water can help greatly, whereas if you take a big gulp, it can reduce the flavor of what you’re trying to eat substantially.

You could also take a drinking straw, dip the bottom end into a glass of water, plug the top end with your finger, raise the bottom of the straw to your mouth, and release the finger plugging the top so the water falls into your mouth (not sucking on it), and that will act like an eyedropper.

Aside from the flavor enhancement element, the addition of the small amount of water will assist you in preventing ‘dry socket’ since your saliva glands can be better prepared to maintain moisture for when you’re not eating.

Extensive Thoughts and Theories on Blade Runner 2049 Trailer

There’s a new trailer for Bladerunner 2049. These are my theories and breakdown of the trailer.

To understand most of what I’m about to say, you will need to have seen the original Bladerunner, but specifically the Director’s Cut version.

I think after a few viewings of this that it is super obvious that K is a replicant, or at least not human. The “special” line might be that he’s a unique replicant with abilities atypical of a normal one, and that the last page not being there could be that his life up until then had already been written as programming, but was unfinished in some way. Or, the third kind mentioned below.

I think this film might be confirmation that the original Deckard/Ford is not actually a replicant, which I believed the original film hinted at in the Director’s Cut. However, if Deckard were one, he presumably wouldn’t have aged, so must have either had a skin replacement procedure to look older for some reason (in addition to extending his 4-year life somehow).

I assumed that the guy who says “happy birthday” is a replicant with unusual eyes (possible reference to the cruel blinding of the inventor in the original) is not actually blind, but maybe like a kind of jeweler’s eyeglass, ideal for seeing fine details. Plus, he’s got a light on his neck. I suspected he was a rogue savant replicant of some kind, producing his own replicants offsite, apart from the main producer from the original, perhaps to either infiltrate/body-double/double-agent the regular ones, or to make special custom ones with way better abilities than the regular ones who can perform unique functions. I would not be surprised if Agent K/Gosling is one of these.

He seems to send his hench-lady to go retrieve something, and appears successful by this shot if Decker/Ford is the something. If maybe Deckard/Ford is one of the special units and not actually the real Deckard, that might make better sense.

However, it looks like Agent K/Gosling is able to intervene at some point, judging by his approach to this car, which shows hench-lady and possibly Deckard/Ford’s foot. However, K is washed away by something like a wave of water.

If Deckard/Ford was trying to hide, by the sense I get from his contention with K/Gosling’s entry, I’m curious about why he didn’t just get a completely new image instead of maintaining the old one. Perhaps he’s an imposter or duplicate of the original Deckard, or a holographic projection of an algorithmically-aged Deckard to maintain the ruse that he’s actually human by having aged.

He’s clearly still carrying the same-looking gun he would have used, though, even if he is an imposter somehow.

If he’s the original Deckard, and is a replicant who figured out how to extend a replicant’s life, perhaps that’s what special-eyes wants hench-lady to bring him, as a “key to the future,” to be able to extend the lives of his creations.

A split-second shot of green foliage at about 01:49 just after the digital “Joi” billboard, could be a pretty huge clue, which might be more familiar to Star Trek nerds as the concept of a holodeck, which could be a room where you can simulate environments and interact with holographic-but-still-touchable people and objects.

In Star Trek Voyager was introduced a concept of a holographic person that could exist outside of the simulated environment by use of a portable transmitter. That might also be the “key to the future” that special-eyes wants.

If a holodeck is really a thing, then the metaphorical door is blown way open on a Thirteenth Floor or eXistenZ situation where we’re not sure whether we’re still in the simulation, or if there is a simulation-within-a-simulation, which Trek fans may be more familiar with from Ship in a Bottle episode from TNG.

I really hope this huge holo-person is a character, maybe like a hero’s-journey oracle, or at least an interviewed source that offers a new direction on a lead.

I have a hunch that there may be multiples of the love-interest girl, who might be the same as Joi in the billboard, for double-agent possibilities or not-knowing-it-was-actually-her-twin situations on K’s part, since that could be an obvious weakness on his part, ripe to be exploited or a faking a sense of betrayal as a diversion, etc.

The uniformed lady official who is explaining about the wall concept of society, has me wondering if it could be that the humans are the ones outlawed now, or that there is some other third additional concept that is now the enemy, whereas replicants are fairly accepted now by humans, being basically a human generation later — such as holographic people. The holographic ballerina at the beginning might have been a clue toward that.

The extremely dusty/sandy area shots, of the exterior of the building Ford/Deckard is holed up in, is presumably Las Vegas or some kind of casino area. The non-English characters on the building’s front are Korean, and mean either “Luck” or “Good Fortune” if my sources hold up. The central circular shape between them gives me “what are you doing Dave” HAL-9000 vibes, especially with the little partial-arc in the north-east quadrant looking like a lens glare.

The rug on the floor of the building-entry shot looks like it says “VINTAGE CASINO” which would be weird for a casino to call itself a vintage casino, unless it was created after casinos had been long gone already, so that the building itself could be a kind of ..replication.. and therefore make an ideal hideout for replicants or those friendly thereto.

The hidden casino concept would tie in with the dark (underground?) secret entertainment establishment where we see the Vegas showgirls (holograms?) performing to no audience later on for a split second. Maybe it could be like be a secret hideout for holographics to go, similar to an underground railroad checkpoint for them, or similar to a place like the bar from Constantine where you had to prove your abilities to the bouncer.

Some suspect this could be a date of June 10, 2021. However, some countries use a day-month-year pattern instead of the American month-day-year pattern for all-numeral dates, so the date-looking scrawling might be October 6, 2021. That would correspond to the release date of the film, which is October 6, 2017. That is also significant, because the difference in those 2 dates is 4 years, which is the lifespan of a replicant from the original film. Also notice what appears to be fingers reaching up out of the dirt, for some reason.

I’m not sure why this dead tree appears to be kept aright by support wires, or whether the soil there would even be strong enough to keep stakes to support such a tree. The atmosphere seems to correspond with the image where K/Gosling is looking at something in his hand. Maybe he destroyed something he found so that no one could get it. He’s walking away from the fire maybe as if he set it, rather than being startled from an explosion.

The letters on this license plate look vaguely Hebrew to me. A friend who knows Hebrew says ((answer when he gives me one))..

Some have suggested that the guy who busts thru the wall is K/Gosling, but since Deckard/Ford says, “They know you’re here,” I suspect it isn’t. In this scene, the person who falls down doesn’t look like Deckard/Ford, and the gun firer looks confident that the falling person is dealt with. I think K/Gosling would treat Deckard/Ford with a bit more tenderness than just letting him fall like that, and probably isn’t pursuing Deckard/Ford. The wall-buster might be another henchman of special-eyes.

I will continue to update with additional theories and suspicions as I study it a bit more =)

The Official Ablest Standards for Hard-News Writing

After hearing about Facebook’s attempts to reduce the amount of misinformation being spread over its servers, coupled with my university classes in hard-news writing, I’ve decided to come up with my own set of ethical and stylistic standards that must be met in order to be officially legit journalism, in my view.

The biggest problem to me with news I see in today’s markets, is that it has become far too mixed with material that would, in traditional newspapers of my era, be limited only to the editorial page. “OP-ED” (opinion/editorial) has crept into the voice of what used to be “hard news” that answered the who-what-when-where questions.

The following is a set of rules that seek to establish firmer boundaries between opinion and legit journalism. In fact, this very list (and arguably, my entire blog), is editorial and does not masquerade as a hard news source.

If at any point in reading these, you think, “well, that just takes the artistic style right out of it,” then you’ve stumbled upon the crux of the issue.

As a hard-news journalist, you are not an interpreter. Your opinion about something is absolutely irrelevant. Your journalistic interest is to style your writing as embellishless as possible. You are not putting your heart out there. You are not making an impassioned plea for justice, to seek empathy, or to raise pitchforks with like-minded citizens. Your job is not to confirm, propose, establish, or link possible connections to gain sympathy from readers. If that /is/ your job, then you are not a hard-news journalist. You may be a feature writer, a reviewer, a commentator, a talking head — but you are not a hard news journalist and cannot reasonably expect people to consider you one.

You are writing hard news, which includes things like, “The mayor gave a speech on Thursday about the e-cigarette ban, according to official press releases,” or, “Judges awarded J’Kondriq Steinerandanopolous the first-place trophy at the fourth-annual Swindontown Spelling Bee held at London Elementary on Monday.” Your writing is stilted, direct, and confirmed by genuine, cited, external sources.


1. No reporting opinions, nor opinions of sources, as the focus of an article.

You may need to revisit high school English and reading comprehension to distinguish between “opinion” or “fact” based sentences.

Think of the difference between movie reviews or scoring on darts.

Describing something as joyful, poorly-lighted, or sloppy, is opinion, because the description is subject to agreement or disagreement by the reader. You are not trying to engage readers, nor are you trying to evoke a response from them about you, your article, or your publication.

Describing something as six feet high, 43 years old, having happened on Avenue H, on Tuesday, or as-stated-by a source, is factual; it is not person-interpreted and research can be conducted by any given other person verify the measurement, age, location, date, source, etc.

Other examples of opinion words and phrases include:

“sent shockwaves”
outrageous
unbelievable
must
would, could, should
jeopardize

According to whose standards of shock, outrage, or should can be reported without bias? Don’t even try it. Oh, you think something “could” impact x, y, and z? Explain that in detail, but in an editorial separate from the news, not in the article you’re writing.



2. Avoid adverbs, “loaded” phrasing, and buzzwordy terms if if they aren’t directly relevant.

An adverb can be a word with an -ly suffix, such as finally or lavishly. Those are interpretations that do not belong in your article, because they frame the opinion for the reader, without the reader’s consent.

A loaded question in an interview would be, “At what time last night did you stop beating your children?” for which the only valid answer according to the question is a time, rather than a defense that one did not even start (or stop) beating one’s children.

A loaded statement could include “probably” or other presumptions that couldn’t be proven, such as “The enraged assailant dove toward officers before being killed by crossfire,” because the attitude of the assailant can’t be confirmed by the only authoritative source (which is the assailant) since they’re dead. You are not interpreting, nor reporting on interpretations.

Buzzwording is the inclusion of descriptors that have no business being there in terms of relevance to the story. You’re not attempting to ensnare the attention of the largest number of people to be empathetic or outraged as possible; you’re reporting on concrete details that are relevant.

“Legal Mexican immigrant to the US, dishonorably discharged from the US Army, and gay widowed mother of two, Syndyy Houpskurt, who lives on food stamps, won the decathlon on Wednesday, according to Olympic officials,” is buzzworded, because the athlete’s civil service, military branch, progeny, marital status, sexual preferences, and income are irrelevant to winning the race.

If you’re writing about the humanity of the person, then you’re thinking of feature writing, not hard news. The hard news of this is, “Olympic officials announce Syndyy Houpskurt of the United States as winner of the decathlon.”

A descriptor of this nature, such as the citizenship of the athlete could be relevant due to the official relationship to nation-of-origin within the Games, however, or such as a person whose unique abilities permits them to enter the Special Olympics, and that the ability mentioned is relevant toward qualifying them to enter.

Mentioning that a person involved in a robbery is black, for instance, is buzzwording. Noting that a man with ties to the mob and identified on a beach by his hairy chest is Italian, that a person who was awarded tenure at a prestigious university is rich and white, or that the person charged with disturbing the peace by screaming plane noises is a member of the Air Force, is all buzzwording.


3. Statements of the absoluteness of a future event must be avoided.

As a journalist, you are not a prophet. Even things which could be reasonably ascertained to happen rain-or-shine, must be phrased as a description of the past or present as if the plausibility of their cancellation were genuine, and according to whom.

“The parade will be held downtown on Avenue G on Tuesday at 6am, according to Dixon,” should instead be,
“The parade is scheduled for a 6am start, downtown on Avenue G on Tuesday, according to Dixon,” but not,
“The blasphemous parade is foolishly scheduled to start way too early at 6am Tuesday, on the worst street our city has to offer, Avenue G, according to our psycho of a mayor.”

“The president will give a formal address regarding the issue on Wednesday, sources say,” should be,
“The president is planning to give a formal address on the issue on Wednesday, White House source Ed Grimley confirms,” but not,
“Our most annoying president yet is planning to ramble incoherently about the total non-issue on Wednesday, White House lackey Ed ‘Sharts-his-britches’ Grimley blabbered last night.”

Don’t use phrases like could, would, should, or jeopardize. If something is jeopardized, then the dust hasn’t settled yet, and information about that is, at best, tentative and unreliable. You’re reporting things that did happen, that can be verified; not whether something is “up in the air” or on uncertainties. Report on certainties. Let the reader construct their own uncertainties, instead of injecting your own uncertainty into the news. If something could, should, or would happen, then it hasn’t yet, and you’re foretelling the future like no credible news source can, else you’re just editorializing.




4. Uncounted or unnumbered mass nouns are completely disallowed.

Phrasing like senate democrats, gang members, and Californians which do not specify how many and which in particular, are outlawed.

Specify directly how many persons are involved, up front, and maintain their distinction apart from groups to which they could be associated, and avoid associating any groups with them where possible.

If you have 30 citizens of Vermont who have gone on strike, do not say, “Vermont citizens go on strike,” but say how many, of which city or neighborhood, or for which company. It is not your role to generalize the citizens so that the largest possible number of readers could empathize or disagree with them.

If Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alakska, have co-authored a bill to be introduced, do not say “Senate Republicans Propose Bill,” say, “Senators Shelby of Alabama and Murkowski of Alaska co-author bill.”

If the number of people involved is infeasible to list uniquely, maintain the distinction of their number apart from association of other groups. Even if your readership is arguable mostly golfers, specify which people are doing the thing, saying it, etc.


5. Do not interpret documents, nor quote interpretations of documents.

Sentences and phrasing like, “the law would allow farmers to shoot anyone they like,” must be prevented. If a bill says something that seems like it could be open to abuse, directly quote the specific phrasing of the actual bill language, and allow the reader to interpret it uniquely.

The main problem with the quotation of interpretation, is that in order for the writer to remain objectively neutral, then a counterargument must also be quoted, but what constitutes an appropriate counterargument is itself, opinion.

6. If your sources insist on anonymity, then you have no sources.

You must be able to prove you are not making it up, or that the writer of the article is not using their own knowledge as the source and simply claiming “anonymous” in place of their own knowledge.

If you believe the source’s remarks are really really really necessary to report, investigate the claim and find a source who is willing to be cited to confirm it, and then use that cited source as the source, rather than the original.

If you still are unable to cite a specific source directly even between numerous sources that all insist on anonymity, then don’t report it. If it absolutely must must must be reported on, in violation of ethical treatment of people, pets or property, then readers of journalism are not the audience for it — higher-ranking authorities, a district attorney, a police officer writing a report, a crime tip-line, etc, are the appropriate demographic for your story. You are not a credible distributor of that information, and it is not your role to news report on anonymous tips. You absolutely must cite your sources, by name, period.

6. Information gained from hacks or leaks is not valid, even if the hacker is quoted directly.

The information that comes from a source that has a conflict of interest, or was gained through deceit, is by nature, deceitful, and must not be reported — the falsification of authority to access the information results in the plausible falsification of the data retrieved.

In like manner that, if police officers cannot break into your house in order to obtain evidence without a warrant, then you are not allowed to report information gained from the hacking or unofficial leak of data, because it was not procured officially.

7. Do not interpret a source’s words without that source’s consent of the interpretation.

If you’re reporting an interview with a source and including what you and they say back and forth, great. If you’re reporting an interview with what someone says, and then how you respond, without recording their response to your interpretation, then your talents are more suited for the paper route position, rather than the writing.

You are not reacting. You are not the voice of those who aren’t heard often enough. You are not seeing the story from your eyes, or any other delineated swath of the population. You do not draw conclusions that go unchecked without the satisfaction that the source you’re remarking upon has with your final copy.


If you encounter any source that claims to be news, but does not abide by these standards, it is my editorial proposal you have encountered a source that is excessively opinion-based, buzzworded, propagandized, reactionary, loaded, or judgmental, whose ethics for newswriting have been breached, and, like the hacker information from rule 6, can’t be reasonably considered accurate.