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Attack on wordiness, Wednesday lab (152)

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  1. Sarah McCallister
    September 20, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Daily Nebraskan
    Friday, September 19, 2008
    “Wright celebration concludes”

    Paragraph 2: Gregory Rutledge and Guy Reynolds, UNL English professors, started the celebration to introduce Wright to people who may not have read his work.

    You really don’t need the “to people who may not have read his work,” so I would change the sentence to say: UNL professors Gregory Rutledge and Guy Reynolds began the celebration by introducting Wright’s work.

    Paragraph 9: During the presentation, Harris also introduced research tools UNL students will be able to use to find out more about literature.

    I would edit the sentence by saying: Harris also introduced literature research tools available to UNL students. That just cut down the sentence by 11 words, yet you still communicate the same thing.

    Paragraph 15: Yesterday’s events came to a close with a discussion of the film with professors.

    Instead, you could say: Yesterday’s events concluded with a discussion of the film with professors. You’re reducing the sentence by three words, but it’s something, nonetheless.

  2. Michael Saeger
    September 24, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Lincoln Journal Star
    Tuesday, September 23, 2008
    Sports section- Tigers show they’ve got all the weapons

    Paragraph 1: Less than a week remains before Nebraska fans start the campaign for why Missouri is in for a big surprise Oct. 4 in Memorial Stadium.

    Less than a week remains before Nebraska fans begin campaigning that Missouri is in for a surprise Oct. 4 in Lincoln.

    In this paragraph I changed the phrasing to eliminate unnecessary words. I also changed “Memorial Stadium” to “Lincoln” because this shortens the sentence without changing the meaning of where the game will be played. I eliminated “big” from the sentence because “surprise” already conveys the necessary meaning.

    Paragraph 2: Oh, if only the Husker’s next opponent was La. Tech instead of Virginia Tech, the sports talk phones would already be flooded with callers offering theories on how to keep Chase Daniel under wraps.

    If only the Husker’s next opponent was La. Tech instead of Virginia Tech, callers would already be flooding the sports talk phones with theories on how to contain Chase Daniel.

    To shorten the length of this sentence I made the callers active. I also changed “under wraps” to “contain” which conveys the same meaning but in a more concise manner. These are minor changes that help eliminate a few unnecessary words from the sentence. “Oh” is used for style and to emphasize the phrase, but I believe it is unnecessary in this sentence.

    Paragraph 10: Their other points came on a kickoff return and after a roughing-the-kicker penalty allowed them to keep a possession going.

    Their other points came on a kickoff return and after a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept the drive alive.

    In this instance I changed the end of the sentence without losing the meaning. This allows the writing to be more concise.

  3. Brittney Schuessler
    September 24, 2008 at 1:45 am

    The Daily Nebraskan:
    UFC fighting in Omaha features local athletes
    Jay Sloan and Nick Filipowski
    Issue date: 9/23/08 Section: Sports

    PARA 1: On Sept. 17, the Ultimate Fighting Championships presented “Fight Night 15” at Omaha’s Civic Auditorium. The bout card included three names familiar in the Omaha area: Omaha native Ryan Jensen, Omaha firefighter Jason Brilz and Omaha resident Houston Alexander.

    Three names familiar in the Omaha area is redundant since he chose to describe each person as an Omaha native, Omaha firefighter, and Omaha resident. If the names truly are familiar, then the need to further identify them is unnecessary. This is especially redundant because this is the first paragraph, and it is mentioned later in the article that each participant is a native, firefighter or resident respectively.

    Solution:
    On Sept. 17, the Ultimate Fighting Championships presented “Fight Night 15” at Omaha’s Civic Auditorium. The bout card included three names familiar in the Omaha area: Ryan Jensen, Jason Brilz and Houston Alexander.

    PARA 7: I found a punctuation error; I feel obligated to point it out. The last quotation mark is missing.
    “We were a poor family, and my mom and dad worked very hard to provide for us,” said Brilz, “It’s that kind of upbringing that I get my work ethic from.

    PARA 9:
    Oddly enough, Brilz never played football in his high school career. Instead, he actually competed on the cross country team.

    The word “actually” can be eliminated.

    PARA 11:
    After high school, Brilz stayed close to home and wrestled at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

    Eliminate the following: “stayed close to home and”
    It is already mentioned that he is from Omaha.

    PARA 13:
    Brilz continued his training and started to work on judo. With a strong wrestling background already, Brilz could be a successful fighter if he could acquire some judo skills.

    Solution: With a strong wrestling background Brilz started to work on judo.

    “Brilz could be a successful fighter if he could acquire some judo skills,” is an opinion.

  4. Sara McCue
    September 24, 2008 at 5:11 am

    Alliance Times-Herald
    September 23, 2008
    “Library Display Showcases Banned Books”

    Paragraph 1: The Alliance Public Library is currently displaying many books that have been banned in some libraries. People are encouraged to visit the library to view the display.

    Changes: Eliminate “currently” and “many.”

    Paragraph 2: In support of the right to choose books freely, the American Library Association and the Alliance Public Library are sponsoring Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 to Oct. 4, an annual celebration of the right to access books without censorship. This year’s observance is themed “Freedom to Read,” and commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society — the freedom to read freely — and encourages people not to take that freedom for granted.

    Changes: This is the paragraph that caught my attention. Versions of the word “free” are used excessively. The introductory clause is not needed because the same idea is related by “an annual celebration of the right to access books without censorship.” The next sentence could be reworded to read:
    This year’s theme is “Freedom to Read,” and it encourages people not to take for granted their right to read whatever they choose.

    Paragraph 3: During the week, people are encouraged to read an old favorite book or check out a banned book.

    Changes: This paragraph looks okay.

    Paragraph 4: Since 1990, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 9,600 book challenges. A challenge is formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves. About three out of four of all chal-

    Changes: I was going to continue rewriting this article, but I discovered that the rest of the article–which should have been continued on Page 6–was nowhere to be found. Not only was it absent from Page 6, but it wasn’t on any other page of the paper. This error has nothing to do with wordiness, but it was such a terrible one that I felt I had to mention it.

  5. Nate Pohlen
    September 24, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Lincoln Journal Star
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008
    Sports: NU appreciates Virginia Tech’s special-teams success

    Paragraph 10: How about this season? Well, John Graves blocked a PAT against East Carolina, a field goal against Furman and another PAT against Georgia Tech, becoming the first Tech player to block a kick in three straight games under Beamer.

    This is not that bad, but just a little wordy at the end. I would say, “becoming the first Beamer-coached Tech player to block a kick in three straight games.” That shortens it and gets rid of unnecessary prepositional phrases.

    Paragraph 11: Suffice it to say that’s grabbed the attention of Husker players and coaches.

    I don’t think “suffice it to say” is necessary here. This sentence could work very well by saying, “Husker players and coaches are aware.” I think it’s more dramatic, too.

    Paragraph 14: Some will say the talk of Virginia Tech special teams is driven by media hype.

    I would make this active voice: “Some will say the media hypes Virginia Tech’s special teams.” There should be an ’s after Virginia Tech because you wouldn’t say, “the talk of Virginia Tech offense is driven by media hype.” You’d say, “the talk of Virginia Tech’s offense is driven by media hype.” The same goes for special teams.

    Paragraph 19: His team blocked a punt to set up the Tar Heels in position for a game-winning goal … and missed the field goal.

    First of all, there is a typo. It should read “game-winning field goal.” And this sentence could be rearranged for clarity: “His team blocked a punt to put the Tar Heels in game-winning field goal position, but they missed.”

    And this has nothing to do with wordiness, but it does deal with redundancy. The Lincoln Journal Star Sports section printed the exact same story on pages two and five today. I guess you would call that a communication error between copy editors and layout design.

  6. Cassandra Thomas
    September 24, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Daily Nebraskan
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008
    “Farm bill passes after debate, veto”
    By Teresa Lostroh

    As a student of CASNR, it angers me to see how inept most students are of the agricultural world. This article stressed points that have very little to do with the program’s implementation and it failed to discuss the impact of the bill on farmers and other Nebraska residents. Certain aspects were overlooked that have will have a huge impact on this state’s livelihood.

    Anyway, I will get off my soapbox for a few minutes. The article not only overlooked many important factors, it was also very wordy.

    3rd Paragraph: The U.S. Congress finally passed the legislation, known as the farm bill, in June after more than three years of fierce debate and two vetoes from President Bush.
    Revision: I would remove finally because it is not needed, move farm bill in front of legislation and get rid of the “know as”.

    4th Paragraph: The bill’s passing came only a few months before a landmark presidential election, which will likely influence the piece’s implementation and U.S. agriculture as a whole, said Brad Lubben, an assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
    Revision: You can remove “landmark” because everyone in America knows this is a landmark election and it is implied. Also remove “likely” before influence because it will influence (there is not likely about it).

    6th Paragraph: Lubben said the new legislation, which is an altered version of the 2002 farm bill, touches on three big issues: farm income safety nets, land conservation and the new players in the agricultural sphere.
    Revision: Change “touches on” to “contains” because the farm bill is entirely based on these three concepts. It does not merely “touch on” them. Also, you can remove “farm income” in “farm income safety nets” because anyone with an association to agriculture knows that safety nets are associated with subsidies and farm income. I also thought “the new players in the agricultural sphere” was worded poorly because it doesn’t tell the reader anything. They could have changed the phrase to “large corporate farms” and made the concept much more understandable for readers and irritating to farmers. 

    7th Paragraph: The bill modifies the way producers can be helped when the market’s lagging.
    Revision: The bill changes the way government aid is dispersed to producers.

    More in 7th Paragraph: Rather than the government paying out to producers when prices fall below a set amount, the farm bill now gives them the option to be compensated based on lagging revenue amounts using state and producer’s, rather than national, averages.
    Revision: According to the current farm bill, producers receive subsidies when prices fall below a set national average. The new farm bill will let producers receive subsidies when price fall below their own average yields.

    8th Paragraph: Because current prices are generally much higher than they have been in the past, the safety net price is no longer effective for many producers, said Lubben.
    Revision: Current prices are much higher than past years, making national averages no longer effective for producers.

    10th Paragraph: This will free more space to be used by producers—a nice feature during a time of soaring agricultural prices.
    Revision: More acres can then be used for cropland.

    13th Paragraph: In terms of the impending presidential election, Lubben believes the biggest ag-related topic will be who the new president will lend an ear to for agricultural advice.
    Revision: Remove IMPENDING!!! In terms of the presidential election, Lubben believes the biggest ag-related topic is the appointment of a new secretary of agriculture.

    14th Paragraph: Because neither Sen. John McCain nor Sen. Barack Obama come from strong agricultural backgrounds, Lubben is interested in whom the potential leader will look to, especially who will be in the new president’s cabinet as the secretary of agriculture.
    Revision: Remove the entire paragraph because the appointment of a new secretary of agriculture has already been discussed in the previous paragraph.

    15th Paragraph: In addition, renewable fuel and energy resources could be used very differently depending on the new administration, Lubben said, which in turn can affect Nebraska, a leading producer of ethanol grain.
    Revision: Renewable fuel and energy controlled differently depending on the administration, Lubben said, which will affect Nebraska because it is a leading producer of ethanol. P.S. Ethanol is not ethanol grain!!! Ethanol is derived from grain but once the content is removed, it become a distillers byproduct, not a grain!!!

  7. Lindsey Givens
    September 24, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Daily Nebraskan
    Sandoz residents bare souls on Post-its

    Paragraph 3: “I thought it would be a good chance to get to know each other on a different level without actually getting to know each other,” said Meade, a junior international business major.

    Paragraph 10: Freshman French major Cyndy Ingraham thinks it’s a good idea to post secrets. She said it allows people to better understand each other without actually having to get to know each other. Though she had not posted a secret yet, she intends to do so soon.

    These two quotes are almost the same. I would remove one of them and add something else one of the student’s said to make the article less redundant and more interesting.

  8. Adam Ziegler
    September 24, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    Lincoln Journal Star
    Tuesday September 23, 2008

    Paragraph 8: “While porch-sitting has long been a tradition in college towns, some have passed ordinances to try to clean up neighborhoods permeated by college kids, including Ames, Iowa, Boulder, Colo., and East Lansing, Mich. In Boulder, college students had a habit of lighting couches on fire before the ban helped douse annual couch fires.”

    Change: While porch-sitting has long been a tradition in college towns, some have passed ordinances trying to clean up student neighborhoods, including Ames, Iowa, Boulder, Colo., and East Lansing, Mich. In Boulder, students had a habit of lighting couches on fire before the ban helped douse the annual blazes.”

    We’ve established that we’re talking about people in college, so we don’t need to keep repeating that, and in the second sentence it sounded repetitive to have couch fire in there again.

    Paragraph 11: “Council members Jon Camp and Ken Svoboda voted against the ordinance, saying it was “government overreach.” Camp questioned whether the ordinance would even be effective, considering other housing violations persist all over Lincoln, in defiance of existing housing codes.”

    Change: “Council members Jon Camp and Ken Svoboda voted against the ordinance, saying it was “government overreach.” Camp questioned whether the ordinance would even be effective, considering other housing violations persist all over Lincoln.”

    If they’re violations they obviously go against some type of law or ordinance, so we don’t need the last part of that sentence.

    Paragraph 23: The ordinance would be enforced on a complaint-based system, and most violations bring three warning letters — with time to fix the violation — before being considered for prosecution.

    Change: The ordinance would be enforced on a complaint-based system, with violators given three chances to remove the furniture before being considered for prosecution.

    The paragraph was confusing and didn’t clearly explain the system for how violations would be dealt with

  9. September 24, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I knew my hometown paper, the McCook Daily Gazette, would not let me down. I could use them for every assignment.

    From paragraph 3 of an awful movie review on the paper’s blog:
    “It is funny in parts, but mostly just worth a smile at most jokes.”

    The use of two forms of the word “most” is an easy tip that this is a redundant sentence. I might say, “It was funny in parts, but most jokes were only worth a smile.”

    The whole review, in all its McCook-awful glory: http://www.mccookgazette.com/blogs/codydame/entry/20936/

  10. Dan Girmus
    September 24, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    McCook Daily Gazette
    Two indicted on drug manufacturing

    Original wording:
    “Count I alleges that beginning from an unknown date but as early as January 2008 and continuing until about Aug. 12, the defendants conspired together and with others to manufacture and attempt to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.”

    The words “beginning from an unknown date” are unnecessary. If the beginning date is unknown, it would be sufficient just to say “as early as January 2008”, because that is known for sure.

    Also, the phrase “manufacture and attempt to manufacture” is kind of awkward and unclear. We don’t learn from the article if they ever actually manufactured any drugs, or just attempted to. This should be changed, with more information in that regard.

    Lastly, I would say “at least 50 grams” instead of “50 grams or more.”

  11. Zach Artz
    September 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Wednesday, September 24th
    Journal Star
    Calm bye week gives Huskers Ample prep time

    Paragraph 4: Though Nebraska has played just three games so far, the bye week came at an opportune time for a team still in transition under Bo Pelini, NU’s first-year head coach.

    I would change the statement about Bo Pelini to “in transition under new coach Bo Pelini. It says the same thing in fewer words.

    Paragraph 16:
    The team also got a few miscellaneous chores out of the way, Swift said, like coming in for team pictures Sunday. That lead into an intense Monday practice – the kind usually reserved for Tuesdays during the season. Nebraska went hard again this Tuesday, completing the shift back to its normal schedule

    a few miscellaneous chores could be changed to various other chores. It only cuts out one word but it still says the same thing so why not?

  12. Mike
    September 24, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Daily Nebraskan
    September 21
    Movie Review

    Original wording:”Righteous Kill” is like a Rubik’s Cube with seven colors, a labyrinth of contrivances that laboriously builds to a revelation it cannot provide.

    Perhaps this isn’t wordy but rather I don’t understand what the writer is trying to say.

    I gather that he is trying to say that the movie works hard to be a riddle. Instead of stating the obvious he tries to come off as clever for his analogy.

    I would rather he cuts the language and simply explains: Righteous Kill is a movie that tries to be a riddle but fails to have an answer.

  13. Katie Steiner
    September 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Lincoln Journal Star
    “Nebraska, Lancaster County property taxes among highest in study”

    2nd paragraph: Nebraska has the second highest property tax bill in the nation, when measured as a percentage of home values, according to the study by the Tax Foundation.
    Revision: Nebraska has the nation’s highest property tax bill, when measured as a percentage of home values, according to the study by the Tax Foundation.

    12th paragraph: As a state, Nebraska ranked 16th in median property taxes and 10th for property taxes in relation to income.
    Revision: As a state, Nebraska ranked 16th in median property taxes and 10th for property taxes relating to income.

  14. September 24, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Paragraph 7: People are encouraged to submit their ideas, in any of 25 languages, on http://www.project10tothe100.com/index.html through October 20. Entrants must briefly describe their idea and answer six questions, including, “If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how?”

    Take out the word “briefly” because it is unnecessary if their entries are limited to the answers of six questions.

    Paragraph 12: To cite Google’s own example, Google News began after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when an engineer became frustrated that he couldn’t aggregate news sources from around the world in one place.

    “Google” used twice.

    To cite the company’s own example, …

    This doesn’t eliminate wordiness, but it conserves space–Abbreviate September.

  15. Ryan Boetel
    September 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    First paragraphs of Lincoln Journal Star article…
    Two houses were hit by gunfire Wednesday morning.

    Bullets struck a home on the 800 block of South 40th Street around 6:11 a.m., said Officer Katie Flood. Police found six shell casings near the home near 40th and G streets.

    Flood said she was not sure how many times that house was hit.

    Officers were sent to 50th and Starr streets at 6:18 on a second report of shots fired, Flood said. That house, which is converted into apartments, was struck twice — one bullet struck the window of a vacant ground-level apartment, and a second bullet was found on the ground about 10 feet from a door jamb.
    ———
    Bullets were shot at two Lincolnh homes Wednesday mourning.
    At 6.11 a.m. a home on the 800 block of South 40th was fired upon said Officer Katie Flood. Police found six shell casings near the home at 40th a G.
    Seven minutes later officers were sent to 50th and Star streets after a report of shots fired. Police found three shell casings at the home – which had been converted in apartments, Flood said. One bullet struck a window to the vacant ground-level apartment and another was found 10 feet from the door jamb.

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