Bad writing award

I think the first step toward being a journalist ought to be a reasonably solid grip on the language you plan to use. There shouldn’t be a mistake or incoherence or clumsiness in every paragraph, as there is in this piece on A Nopen Letter saying…no, I’ll let the reporter explain what it says.

Dozens of female celebrities, politicians and women’s rights campaigners have condemned the “narrow and archaic” opinions they say are are squashing transgender rights in Scotland.

Squashing? Squashing rights? That’s a peculiar word to use. Crushing, yes, quashing, yes, but squashing? It sounds silly, and off.

More than 70 women from across the UK have penned an open letter hitting out at commentators they claim are trying to “roll back the rights” of transgender women.

“Hitting out at” – that’s a more familiar idiom but it’s ridiculous and poisonous. Stating a position, even one that opposes another position, is not “hitting out.”

Since the Scottish Government pledged to reform the Gender Recognition Act to be more inclusive of transgender people, critics have argued doing so will impact on the rights of non-transgender women and girls.

Vague, clumsy, uninformative. “Inclusive” meaning what? “[Have an] impact on” how? Be specific.

Various commentators, news outlets and politicians have argued that by being able to self-declare your gender or non-binary status, services and safe places for women would no longer be safe.

Fail. Subject-verb agreement, also two halves of sentence agreement.

Some argue that by allowing transgender women who may not completed their gender reassignment access to services designated for women it would be impacting on women’s rights.

Jesus. More subject-verb chaos plus there’s even a word missing.

Today, scores of women have joined together for the first time in hitting out at the claims, with signatories of the open letter including Dame Emma Thompson, MPs Mhairi Black and Hannah Bardell, members of women’s aid organisations, charities, lawyers and academics.

Scores? How many scores? Two? Three? Why not just say the number? (I think I saw somewhere that it’s 70. 3.5 score, so not all that many scores, but it sounds big.) And another “hitting out” already.

This person may identify as a journalist, but…

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