Preetio asked journalists and editors from major media outlets about their pet hates with regards to grammatical and spelling errors in press releases and pitches. Here’s what they said.
1. “I detest press releases that are lazily written and have never been proofed.”
No one minds the occasional typo or grammatical error, but journalists will bin a press release if it’s obvious no care has been taken to craft the story and check it for accuracy.
2. “Using a semicolon when what you need is a colon.”
A semicolon ; is used to separate ideas or phrases. A colon : is used to introduce a list or a notion.
Example of the way a colon can be used in combination with a semicolon follows.
The general manager will choose one of three breakfasts (colon introduces list): Bacon and eggs; yogurt and fruit; or muesli with milk. In this case the semicolon is used to clearly separate phrases.
3. “When I have to read many sentences in a long quote without knowing who is speaking.”
A. quote should introduce the speaker at the very soonest moment, at the latest after the first sentence.
“I’d love to see my story in print,” the business owner said, “but I know journalists receive hundreds of press releases.”
Also, don’t close the quote till the quotation has finished – and adding “she added” doesn’t help!