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Friday, 25 August 2006

As promised, I got back some comments on my assignment from a friend who is a trained journalist. I feel quite comfortable with the article now. It seems like everything is in place. If I had another two weeks to think about it, and if I were to let it lie for a week or so then come back and look at it afresh, I'd find something else to ponder and, no doubt, change.

The article is about the way that people living in some electorates vote. In some areas of the city, the same person who is voting for the Labor Party at the state level is voting for the Liberal party at the federal level. This is what I wanted to cover. Especially, there's a quote from a journalist, which will be revealed when I post the whole article on the weekend, that encapsulates very humourously the situation in a single sentence. I love this quote. It's wonderful. You'll see in a couple of days.

Here's a few of my friend's comments (she's going to hate me for posting these, but since you know neither my identity nor hers, I guess I'm covered):

“It’s just, you’ve got to look at the bigger picture and get John Howard out,” says Lauren, standing under the shade of the pedestrian overpass at the back entrance of the Penrith Westfield shopping centre as the cars and choppers swish and growl over the speed bump at the pedestrian crossing and the Saturday shoppers scuttle across against the lights.

BRILLIANT opening. It's just fantastic.

Lauren, a Penrith resident, is in the minority -- at least at the federal level: the Liberal Party holds the federal seat of Lindsay, which encloses Penrith, an enclave on the edge of the suburban sprawl of Sydney, near the weed-choked Nepean River and the mighty M4 motorway. Driving north along Mulgoa Road from the M4 exit you pass the massive Penrith Rugby League Club, its asphalt apron suffocating under the press of thousands of cars that glint luridly in the noon sun.

Okay, here's the onset of a problem: you're reveling too much in the prose, showing off (as well you have a right to), and it's overshadowing the point
of the story. I'd go through and take out every 3rd adjective and see if that doesn't lighten the reader's load.

point for governments. Some of the people interviewed were committed to an ideal, even if it was a negative one. “Well, Labor’s more for, you know, the ordinary people and the Liberal’s more for the, you know, the upper class,” says Cheryl. “And I mean, the way the federal government gives hand-outs to private schools and forgets the public sector, you know…”

I'm not sure if you're using the "you knows" and "I mean" to help create a character, which is of course one option. But to me, it makes her sound kinda like a valley girl... and in the same way that journos usually clean up all the "ummms" and "welllls" and things, IF you don't want to define her with those, I think they should be dropped.

Nicolle voted for John Howard at the federal level but she doesn’t remember who she voted for at the state level. “I just went there just so I didn’t have to pay a fifty-dollar fine,” she says. “It’s the truth.” Does the

WHAT? You guys are fined if you don't vote?!!

She also volunteers to be an electoral scrutineer on occasion.

Is this a real job description? It sounds like a Caribbean pirate!

“I think there is always a terrible tendency for people to try and draw conclusions on philosophies of views of the electorate,” he says, “when often what’s occurred is just an accident of history.”

Great concluding quote.

I just wish I didn't hate politics so much!

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