On a Quest for Well Written News – Untold Media goes hunting

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Quest for Well Written News

by Gordon Haverland

There was a movie called Quest For Fire back in 1981 (according to Wikipedia). I think I seen it once on TV, late at night. But, in surfing through pages of news search engine listings, I find myself thinking of this movie.

In any event, I am trying to restrict myself to news sites and articles written by professional journalists. For such sites that are a web presence for a (dead tree) newspaper or magazine, I can see a reason for lumping a description of many games into 1 article. For news sites that are a web presence for a TV channel, or purely existing on the web, there is no reason to summarize things this way. I am looking for articles which are solely about Arsenal at Wigan. I got sidetracked at the end.

The English press has a problem with Arsenal. My knowledge of the game is from following the two play by play “files” which the BBC runs (one is specific to the game in question with timing, the other is a running commentary). Some news articles think it was a miracle of some kind that allowed Santos to block a shot early, others allow for Santos to have some skill to effect the block. Likewise, some articles suggest that Al Habsi gifted Arsenal the first goal, while others think that the ball had a path which Al Habsi couldn’t predict, and hence was scored on.

Unrelated to the game against Wigan, it seems a couple of people important to Football died in the last week or so (Gary Speed and Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira). My condolences to those close to either family. And from the weekend, it sounded like there were 4 “teams” playing at Villa Park: Aston Villa, Manchester United, Lee Probert and his assistants, and the AV grounds crew. I don’t think Shay Given was hurt by the facilities, but it appears that the grounds crew got Jermaine Jenas and Javier Hernandez with that stealth sprinkler head.

The Straits Times of Singapore Wenger demands more despite Arsenal romp looks like they found a reasonable canned news article and ran with it. It may be that they wrote the article themselves, but quite a few other news articles seemed to have very similar titles.

Sportal seems to have a number of country websites. A number of them may resolve to a single server, in any event it appears their India, New Zealand and Australia sites are the same. A no nonsense title of Wigan 0 : Arsenal 4. They do fall into the group which thinks Santos was lucky to block the shot.

iSport from India had a nice title for their article: Arsenal Surge To Move Back Into The Top 5. They note that Santos blocked that shot, but don’t embellish it in any way. For Arteta’s goal, they seem to be of the opinion that the shot itself handcuffed Al Habsi, not a gift.

Taiwan News also likes to romp: Arsenal romps to 4-0 win at Wigan in EPL. They do seem to have a few sister sites of similar names. Short article, but it does update statistics on van Persie (14th goal, 17 goals in 19 games) and Vermaelen (3rd in 4 games), and they mention that Gervinho scored (which is important for all the chances he has had).

Modern Ghana runs with a plain title: Wigan 0 – 4 Arsenal. The report is detailed and positive. A nice read.

Eurosport.com is running a bunch of sister sites, with the title: RVP nets as Arsenal beat Wigan. A sentence/paragraph I like is:

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, a proud Catalan, took his cue from Barcelona when deploying Wigan in a rather amorphous and unexpected 4-6-0 formation, with Jordi Gomez operating in the Lionel Messi ‘false nine’ role

Fox Sports of Australia celebrates RVP with their title: Robin van Persie on target yet again as resurgent Arsenal crush rock-bottom Wigan Athletic. They seem to think it was Vermaelen that deflected the shot. But I thought it was a nice article.

We have a few articles which seem to combine the game and an interview of Wenger where he was discussing how Robin developed into a scorer.

The Irish Times runs with the title: Arsenal turn on style against woeful Wigan. The article is nice, with a bit more meat by combining the two stories.

The UK International Business Times came up with a couple of articles. The first in the same vein as the Irish Times, had a title of: Arsenal Star Drawing Henry Comparison. Is it fair to point out a typo? Mid article, we find that the manager of Arsenal is Wengerm. Looking at the context, it is obvious the author meant to hit the comma, which is next to the “m” on a QWERTY keyboard. Nice article.

The other article focuses on Thomas Vermaelen with a title of: BBC Football Pundit Lauds Arsenal Defenders Canny Knack. I guess someone at the International Business Times reads or watches what Garth Crooks does, as that is the inspiration for the article. But it seems that TV5 is working himself up the goal scoring list for defenders, already surpassing Emmanuel Petit and Sol Campbell. The obligatory dig for scoring an own goal wasn’t really needed in my mind. Other than that, a pretty good article.

Sure a lot of people know latin in the news business. I suppose it will be a year of wonders (or miracles) if the press learns how to write good articles, and quits trying to stir the pot and get managers fired or cause excessive turnover of players. Hey guys, can I introduce you to a sprinkler at Villa Park?

I hope you enjoyed my Quest for Well Written News. I hope there are no errors (outside of that typo at IBTimes). Manually written in HTML using emacs23.



21 Replies to “On a Quest for Well Written News – Untold Media goes hunting”

  1. I’m glad you liked it Sammy.

    I think for next time (if there is a next time), I should put the blockquote in emphasis.

  2. Already noticed sky failing to acknowledge Rooney being at fault for the miss and the 2nd Basle goal.

  3. Gord,
    what a shame that this article came out today. Well done but unfortunately the Manchester teams did all they could to divert the attention from your excellent article

  4. I think we should all take a minute and spare a thought for Mr Nasri.

    Not necessarily a charitable one…..

  5. It seems the link to this article is broken on the home page, which might have something to do with the number of comments being lower than expected. (I have Autism, and it seems I have to try and be provocative just to get enough feedback to make things better.) Which I passed on an hour or so ago, so perhaps things should be working better soon?

    Walter, being “slow” on coming up with something like this seems to be a necessary evil. It takes time for search engines to digest sites that are not in the USA, England, …. That Google changed how one could search the news lately was also something to adapt to. If people had pointers to other news search engines, that would be appreciated.

    Not that I like to look at bad news, but I think looking for similar articles world wide after the game in Greece might be easier. The little I’ve seen in the past day shows lots of news sites are more than willing to assume any success by Arsenal of late is just a fluke.

    Anne, thanks for the compliment.

    In terms of the Manchester teams, it seems ManU also picked up a serious injury problem. ManC is coming up to transfer time again, and they will probably buy another 20 players. And this is all fair, so ManC should not be eliminated from CL consideration (sarcasm).

    On the Financial Fair Play side of things, someone did raise the 3rd party business as influencing some countries in Europe. It looked to me, that this was mostly Spain or Portugal. I haven’t seen anything written about how this _SHOULD_ influence Champions League.

  6. speaking of the media Oliver Holt of the mirror is really taking a mick at himself…apparently they the media gave wenger more support to wenger than us Arsenal fans did..excuse me but as far as i know throwing vile abuse,calling him a clueless manager living in denial,throwing personal attacks to the old frenchy fool is not support… sometimes i really do wonder how did the likes of holt and samwell ever got their degrees…and they are many of them… sighs

  7. @Gord:

    Sigh… It’s a lesson we all learn. You should never judge the quality of your contribution from the quantity of comments you generate. Never. Trust me… 🙂

  8. Hmmm that’s interesting.
    As an Australian and arsenal fan it’s probably worth noting a few things that may influence our Australian-based Arsenal ‘media-watch’:

    1. SBS (who have quite a good football designated website under ‘theworldgame’), who are probably get the lesst ratings of our five free-to-air national television stations are widely regarded to have the best football commentary and coverage in the country. Foxsports (Pay-TV) have all the cash and thus dominate the television rights (showing almost exclusively epl, local league & our national team) but their pundits are pretty poor and they commentate (I think deliberately) at a fairly unintelligent level.

    2. Arsenal have a very good image in Australia. With no geographical considerations, I think it’s safe to say that most Australians are either ManUtd, Chelsea or Arsenal fans (the most successful sides since the epl’s saturation of the market really kicked in 5-10 years ago). Outside of Liverpool (Harry Kewell) & perhaps Tottenham the other sides are rarely (never) supported and received very little media coverage. Of the epl sides it is widely believed that they play the best football but have various ingrained frailties/deficiencies & as a result are rarely thought of as favourites for anything anymore.

    3. Australian football has undergone a massive transformation in the last 5-10 years, revolutionising the national league, youth development, structure and the way we want the national side to play. The Australian football public have recently become much more knowledgeable, opinionated and (quite frankly) cocky. ‘Physical’, ‘Long-ball’, ‘counterattacking’ & ‘English’ are all terms that are very out of vogue in Australia these days, particularly on SBS & particularly after a domestic side (Brisbane Roar) just went on the longest undefeated run in the history of any Australian football code playing sophisticated high pressing, possession-based, technical football with a squad of very young players.

    I may have just spammed this thread & if that is the case I apologise, but I thought some might find this interesting in light of this article. Particularly if the overarching theme is that ‘poncy’ Arsenal have a much different perception within/without Britain.

  9. I won’t be forgetting that on Football365 one of the headlines during our bad spell was ‘Arsenal, a Joke Club’. Even though both MANC clubs have been knocked out of the Champions league, with UTD stumbling to 1-0 victories and lookign completely like a shadow of their former selves, nothing will be said about them like it was about us.
    ESPN has a show called Soccernet Press Pass, they commentate on all things football. They have their favorites, Liverpool, UTD, Spurs, Chelsea and Man City now, but not Arsenal. When it comes time to comment on our latest victory they always, always give a negative comment about how were one injury away from disaster, or we need to spend money. Its like they read all the rags and get their info from them.
    I watch it now just to get me all gee-d up with a big smile knowing that we are provign them wrong.
    All we have to do is forget all the haters out there and just play our game, we will come up trumps I have confidence…

    Aaand what erks me the most is that they must be watching the CL games from America on a TV, cos you cant hear the fans singing just background noise and when someone scores, they turn down the volume of the game so they can shout louder, it is sooo pathetic. But unfortunatly they play 2 games every round, so 4 games every round really, ESPN 1 and 2.
    When we played Dortmund all the blogs said that the German fans were amazing, really loud etc but I wouldnt know from watching it.
    Back to work now, almost home time..

  10. I am also from Australia and can back WafflingWenger up pretty much. Our Fox Sports commentators are Robbie Slater (played B.B.Rovers, W.Ham) and Mark Bosnich (no intro needed). I think they are great and nto that much dumbed down, but what little bit they are is cos the public in general are all novices at football so need to be kept interested.
    Anyway, the main reason for posting again is to say that this Brisbane side that went 36 games undefeated (1.3 seasons), has a manager called Ange Postecoglou and he swears by the Arsenal and Arsene Wenger way.
    I think he actually went over there and did a training course with AFC or something. I could be dead wrong but I remember hearing something like that before.

  11. @anne Oliver holt who is a chief sports writer in the mirror yesterday threw an attack on Arsenal fans on twitter saying that it was them the media which supported wenger during our “crisis” and not the Arsenal fans who were calling for his head..i just cant believe how idiotic some people can be..is throwing personal attacks and vile abuse nowadays called “support”? read more on his timeline http://twitter.com/#!/OllieHoltMirror

  12. here is one of his tweets..is he serious?
    “@Lordhillwood the media didn’t hound Wenger as much as Arsenal fans did. We’ve been through this though you’re trying to forget now”

  13. I doubt any of you will have failed to notice that whenever van persie does anything good the press immediately refer to his contract situation or a potential injury. Well has there been any talk of this with drogba, despite him clearly single handedly winning the game on Tuesday? I certainly haven’t seen anything … It’s not in their agenda to say negative things about Chelsea when they are winning, unlike what they are saying about us even now with out amazing run of form “one injury away from disaster”

  14. “Wenger got it wrong that day and yet overall probably gets a decent ride in the press. Why? Because he’s been the most successful post-war Arsenal manager.”

  15. Where should a person be looking for Australian (or other nations) news? I’ve been looking through Google News, but Google keeps wanting to do me a favour and only show news it thinks Canadians would appreciate. There has to be other news sites I am missing.

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