Semicolons Bring Bodies Together

Tim Lavis, News Editor

Cutting straight to the point: the “500 words article, single author, inverted-pyramid style” journalism that newspapers are accustomed to cranking out is a dead medium. Dead, but still festering in the dank and musty corners of newsrooms; its presence subtle like two month ripe Chinese takeout in a shorted out dorm-room mini-fridge. In short, if print news is to survive, it needs to engage in systemic reinvention. Journalists, this editorial staff included, need to fundamentally rethink the ways in which we deliver our content.
My humble suggestion as The State Times’ incoming News Editor is a work in progress that I’ve dubbed “Semicolon News.” The humble “;” as you know, is an melange of miscellaneous punctuation marks producing an oft misunderstood symbol with a disputed grammatical praxis. Semicolon News, then, is a hybrid of traditional journalist ethics and flexible formatting inspired by the pace and candor of new media. It is a collaborative approach to print news inspired by electronic journalism, and it will be appearing in full force in our next issue. For readers and writers it means more perspectives, scoops and angles on more pressing, democratically selected issues.
Semicolon News means less long-winded essay style writing and more, brief, to-the-point blurbs and engaging interviews; less decontextualized snapshots and more, accessible illustrations and pertinent photographs.
Semicolon News is also named for its awkwardness and conceptuality. Frankly, I’m not completely certain what it is yet; let alone how it should be used. This hybrid is something without a clear precedent in print journalism (let alone in The State Times,) and its development is dependent on the reactions and ideas of writers and my readers. So look out for next week’s issue and address your questions, comments, complaints and personal attacks to [email protected].

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