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Isaac Freeman

  1. Who's the main character?

    When a progressive political party launches a policy, it's worth paying attention to who gets centred as the main character in news articles.

    You would think that this would be straightforward. If the Green Party has launched a housing policy, you'd write an article saying ‘Greens launch housing policy’. Describing the policy would be the main point, then you might get some context from independent experts in housing to help people decide what they think of it.

    What you more often see is ‘Landlords attack logic of Green housing policy’. Before the reader knows what the policy is, they're told that there was a negative response and invited you to dismiss it as unworkable. Somehow it's more important to tell you the self-interested opinion of a landlord than it is to give you accurate information about the policy itself. You’ll see this pattern all the time, and it reflects poorly on the news organisations that use it.

    It's not that the opinions of people affected by a policy are irrelevant. They could be included further down the article, or be spun out into a whole separate article. But if they're presented as the most important thing to know, that’s an attempt to discourage you from making up your own mind.

  2. A proposal to the Academy of English concerning the word Queue

    It has often been observed that the word queue is pronounced the same as the letter Q, and that therefore the remaining letters serve no useful purpose. Typically this is followed by a recommendation that the remaining letters be removed. While this is clearly an unacceptable situation, I believe that there is a better solution.

    I propose to the august members of the Academy of English that they introduce regular updates to the word queue. Once a year, the first letter should be removed on the assumption that it has had ample time to complete its business at the front, and it is now the next letter’s turn.

    Thus, in the subsequent year the word would be spelled ueue, and pronounced the same as the letter U. The following year it would become eue, pronounced E.

    From time to time, the Academy should announce new letters that have joined the end of the word. This is sure to excite great public interest, and provide valuable media attention to lesser-known letters.

  3. This is my blog.

    It might be a while before I have time to post much, but this is my new blog. It uses Elventy and Netlify. I am pleased with it.