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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Is Rachel Pilcher the worst journalist in Britain?

Rachel Pilcher

Triple P uses Yahoo email so we can easily access it from anywhere in the world but in order to get to it you have to go through the Yahoo news page.  Over the last few years the content of this has become more and more inane and now is totally dominated by Z list celebrity gossip.  The very worst of this is spewed forth from a section called OMG which is a complete microcosm of why Britain is no longer the country it was.   It is bad enough that they think that entertainment news isn't, as you might think, what new play has opened in the West End, which new film has just started filming or what new tour a band has announced but instead what new hairstyle some minor celebrity has.  It is bad enough that they don't employ real journalists (like Triple P's cousin, for example, who works for an Australian newspaper and if he is reporting on a new film flies to the location to file a proper report) but poorly paid just post university hacks who get paid on the number of hits their stories attract; as if this was a measure of quality.  It's bad enough that they focus on a tiny group of celebrities whose self publicising antics they are just feeding: the Kardashians (what do any of these people do?), Miley Cyrus, One Direction and non-entities from UK reality shows.

All this is bad enough but Yahoo OMG has an awful house writing style which seems to be entirely based on how a particular type of stupid American teenager speaks (and it's not clear if they themselves have picked this up from their depiction on screen so it becomes a horrible circle of banality as each copies the other).   I cannot fathom why a UK website wants its writers to write in a way that reflects how they think young Americans speak.  This does, however seem to be a deliberate policy.  The very worst of these Yahoo journalists is a lady called Rachel Pilcher (who is known to her very many detractors as The Pilchard, inevitably).  A classic example of her recent writing is here.   This piece is so bad that nearly all the comments are about how incomprehensible it is rather than the (frankly impenetrable) story itself.   Yahoo don't care, of course, because they are only interested in hits.  In another piece, a couple of days before that, Pilchard described an event as a "damp squid".  It's SQUIB you worthless excuse for a writer.  

So who is this semi-literate word mangler?  Some fifteen year old hired to "get down with the kids"?  A computer programme that randomly generates text based on web crawls?  A foreign student still in their first week of an English course at a shabby Oxford Street language school?  Or even a room fall of chimpanzees banging away randomly at keyboards?  No, because all of these would do a better job than Pilchard.  It turns out that she has a 2.1 degree in English language from the University of Reading (ranks 37th in Britain - their English course ranks 39th).

We are sure her tutors are very impressed by her ability to write such passages as: "If you're fully onboard the good ship Larry Stylinson then you might want to take a seat and get yourself a cold flannel ready, because someone has made a Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson face morph and it's everything you never knew you wanted. The ridiculously flawless morph has been making it's way across the One Direction fandom, and - oh, you haven't seen it yet? Oh, well, TA-DAH. HAPPY BIRTHDAY. MERRY CHRISTMAS. HAPPY EASTER. And everything else in between. STICK A FORK IN US, WE'RE ACTUALLY DONE. Well done, like a gourmet steak. Or a cheap one, whatever. Everybody take a deep breathe and compose yourselves. Ready? Grool."   Rachel you are a young woman in your early twenties trying to make a (short-lived, I suspect) career in journalism, so why do you insist in writing in a parody of how you think a twelve year old speaks. And stop using random capitalisation. And stop using invented abbreviations like "awks" for awkward. CRINGE.

Pilchard has obviously spotted some negative comments as she moans on her blog:  "Figured I should learn some sort of new life skill too, so I've decided to try and stop reading comments on things I write and just let the haters, er, hate... As you'd probably expect, not everyone is always so keen on what I write, how I write it and why I write it, and some stories get some pretty brutal comments. Or I get tweeted telling me I suck and need a new career. Not exactly a confidence booster."  So do something about it, woman!  Don't ignore criticism, learn from it!  Rachel, we are sure you are a lovely girl but writers like you have a duty to stop the slide in the appalling decline in the standard of young people's English in this country.  You are actually contributing to damaging young people's prospects.  You must be stopped!

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that. I had not heard of La Pilchard up until now. As a reviewer once said of something else entirely, she appears to fill a much needed journalistic void