Arab Times: Please hire Competent English Writers

Kuwait is a small country; thanks to the efforts of globalization (living in a world without virtual borders), one can partake in the rudimentary exercise of fact finding by picking their favorite poison – i.e. gauging world news by selecting the best possible source. My perfect poison is BBC, because unlike CNN they do not give every Tom, Dick and Harry the freedom to post comments on their articles, which always converge on the same thing – Muslims are terrorists, no matter how trivial or far from Islam the original article is.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to the matter at hand, despite BBC also having a flare for racism, I stick by them for world news. It is only when I need local news that I find my options some what limited. The majority of websites online recycle the same news from the same source with a different stock image – Gulf News, Zawya, ArabBusiness etc. the source always being a local English newspaper in Kuwait, which limits the choice to a very narrow two: Arab Times and Kuwait Times.

For years now my daily morning routine has been to punch in early at work, sit down at my PC, check my emails, read up on the news around the world and then the news in Kuwait. However, I read the latter for two reasons; the first being to be informed of any local recent developments, and the other being to laugh at how Arab Times always make a mockery of the English language.

Here are a few choice pieces of advice:

1) A paragraph is a paragraph regarding a certain theme. If you wish to add another story, USE A DIFFERENT PARAGRAPH! For example:

Hawks Smuggling Foiled

Jan 27: Anti-narcotics officers attached to the Drug Control General Department (DCGC) arrested three men for the possession of about 1.5 kilogram of hashish, 100 grams of ice drug, an unspecified quantity of brain stimulants and money….. The officers referred the suspects and illicit items to the concerned authority for necessary legal procedures. Meanwhile, a video of a tomboy jumping out of a vehicle and trying to beat a youth on a road in the capital went viral on social media.

(link)

WT Actual F does the tomboy have to do with the drug smugglers? The link which leads to the article reads “Three Held with Drugs”, so unless the tomboy is one of the three, or is somehow related to the three, or entertained the three whilst they were shooting drugs, or jumped out of the smugglers get-away car, it has NO RELEVANCE to the article and should be PLACED WITH A SEPARATE HEADLINE. It is not like you are limited by space (as in printed media), you can place as many titles on your website as you want.

Also, your usage of the word “Meanwhile” is far too generous.

2) Learn to use punctuation properly:

The semicolon or semi-colon (;) is a punctuation mark that separates major sentence elements. A semicolon can be used between two closely related independent clauses, provided they are not already joined by a coordinating conjunction. (just by searching Google for “semicolon”)

So believe it or not, this does NOT constitute proper usage of a semi-colon:

Unless the man-thief is sending the woman Porn SMSs, the stories are unrelated and cannot be hooked together

Unless the man-thief is sending the woman Porn SMSs, the stories are unrelated and cannot be hooked together

Was the Haris robbed as a result of the Indian committing suicide? No? No - then

Was the Haris robbed as a result of the Indian committing suicide? No? No – then

Also, your usage of the dash is erroneous, it too cannot be used to link completely different topics such as:

Was the girl found being held by the 13 illegals? No? No - then

Was the girl found being held by the 13 illegals? No? No – then

Was one of the Kuwaiti couple a singer in debt? No? No - then

Was one of the Kuwaiti couple a singer in debt? No? No – then

For the case of the Kuwaiti Couple & Kuwaiti Singer, your premise for tying both stories with one title is the fact that collectively the 3 owe around KD 73,000. So write that! Say, arrest of 3 Kuwaiti’s owing over KD 73,000.

3) English phrases: Learn to use them properly. For example:

Jan 28: Detectives have captured the citizen who went on a shooting rampage in Andalous area and incited fear among the residents after putting the lives of passersby on the line…

(link)

To put something on the line is an idiom commonly used for something that belongs to the SUBJECT. meaning, in the case above, if you wish to use the phrase “on the line” it can only be that the citizen put HIS life on the line. The citizen CANNOT put the lives of passersby on the line as they ARE NOT HIS. What he did was put the lives of passersby at risk or in jeopardy.

Proof reading is a thing, at least hire some competent proof readers, they can even be part-time workers, but please make sure that if you are promoting yourselves as the “First English-language newspaper published in independent Kuwait” (link) that you live up to the expectations that come with that title.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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