Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Val Ross needs to learn how to do research


While the Globe & Mail tries really hard to position itself as 'the paper of record' for Canada, as long as Val Ross keeps writing shoddy articles like this one about The Rooms in St. John's it ain't likely to happen.

Ms. Ross somehow thinks that Rick Mercer is a taxi driver, she writes 'One taxi driver described the building as "the box that the Basilica came in."' Unfortunately for her, in this article from June 2005 they quote Mr. Mercer as saying '"Once you see this from the inside, I can guarantee no one is ever again going to say this is the box the Basilica came in," said Mercer, referring both to the geometric design of The Rooms and the home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese across Bonaventure Avenue.'

Then, or should I say additionally, Ms. Ross wrote 'The New York Times raved about the architecture and the views...' In fact what was written in the travel section of the New York Times on July 28 of this year was 'It’s hard to miss the Rooms (9 Bonaventure Avenue, 709-757-8000; www.therooms.ca), a huge museum and art gallery that towers above the city from its hilltop perch. Opened last year and designed to resemble traditional Newfoundland fishing rooms where families processed their catch, the Rooms combines the Provincial Museum, the Provincial Art Gallery and the Provincial Archives under one roof. The spotlight is on artists from Newfoundland and Labrador and from throughout Canada. Unofficially, among its the best displays is the view of the harbor’s meeting the Atlantic at Signal Hill.'

I'm not certain in which language the word 'huge' is synonymous with 'raving.' Nor am I certain why 92 words written by a freelance writer based in Yardley, PA are considered authoritative. And lastly, it is a pity that I can't easily find a copy of the book by Wayne Johnston called The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, given Ms. Ross' liberal use of Ellipsises (Ellipsi?) I wouldn't be surprised if the three parts of the quote he uses to start her article came from three entirely different parts of The Colony of Unrequited Dreams.

Needless to say, after discovering these mistakes, I stopped reading the article.

[Update 25 Aug: I received an email from Ms. Ross with the entire quote: 'The Basilica of St John the Baptist loomed up from the cluster of the buildings on the hill. I could not believe that the city and the ice were of one world. The city looked so reasonable, so plausible, a site in which atrocities not only did not take place, but which also somehow prevented them from taking place elsewhere." As a consequence of the email (which had some other stuff as well) I have revised this post.]

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