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Editorializing


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Main Entry: ed·i·to·ri·al·ize

Pronunciation: "e-d&-'tor-E-&-"lIz

Function: intransitive verb

Inflected Form(s): -ized; -iz·ing

1 : to express an opinion in the form of an editorial

2 : to introduce opinion into the reporting of facts

3 : to express an opinion (as on a controversial issue)

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To inject personal interpretations or opinions into an otherwise factual account.

There's often an implication of excess when using this term; it's not clearly defined, but when most journalists or writers tell you you're editorializing, they're saying you're blowing too much hot air.

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Hi Jim,

I think Housewisperer made the comment in another thread but I might be mistaken. Anyway, the context is home inspections and writing narrative in general. I think I understand hyperbole but editorializing I wasn't sure.

One of the things that I have tried to stop doing was guessing from the facts. For example if there is a hole in the ceiling in the kitchen, I had said "theres a hole in the kitchen ceiling probably from a prior leak" only to find out later that it was due to a moved light fixture. So now if I see a hole in the ceiling I describe the hole and in absence of any other evidence I usually make the suggestion to inquire with the seller concerning the history of the hole. But editorializing I think goes beyond this and reports on issues where the evidence simply does not support that conclusion or sometimes any conclusion yet.

Housewisper also indicated that a benefit of having a glossary was that it helped an inspector not fall into editorializing by not having to explain the words one was using while writing narrative. Uh, I think.

So, what I think is that editorializing is a combination of several things with respect to inspection narrative:

1) Forming opinions not soundly based on the facts i.e.speculation.

2) Elaboration of issues without stating the facts.

3) Obfuscating the narrative with explanations as to what the words mean.

4) Providing concessions which you so excellently pointed out.

Now some or all of these points may not be editorializing and be called something else "like bad report writing"

You can consider me that kid in class who doesn't get it and seems to make things too complicated. I appologize for that but its just the way my mind works. I am trying to reform my poor writing.

For anyone to comment, Is there a top 10 list of mistakes inspectors make in writing narrative so to speak that you can share?

Chris, Oregon

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Hi, Chris

Editorializing, as it pertains to journalism (the main application of the word, by the way), is when the journalist deviates from the terse AP stylebook and goes beyond answering the basic five (questions): Who, What, When, Where, and How. Going beyond those basic questions usually involves injecting some kind of opinion/speculation/agenda and generally occurs when there is an attempt to answer the "Why".

I'm not convinced that the word can be applied at all to the type of "reporting" that an HI does. Yeah, yeah, I'm aware of the various discussion threads going on regarding the "amount of opinion, where does it end?" thing, and how there needs to be some kind of consensus/standard/agreement as to how much is necessary...blah,blah,blah. That is a decision that each inspector/company is going to have to make based on the market he/she/they are serving. Some customers will want the basic box-checker, others will need to have an "expert" full information provider. Some HI's will serve just one niche, some will serve all levels (hopefully with a sliding pay-scale). Where a person could get into trouble is when an HI tries to provide the "expert" level (and price), when he/she has only box-checker knowledge/abilities. Could that problem be minimized by licensing/certifications? Etc...etc...etc...

First paragraph=descriptive defintion

Second= Blow-hard example [:-bigmout

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Originally posted by Chris Bernhardt

Hi Jim,

I think Housewisperer made the comment in another thread but I might be mistaken.

Oh. Sorry I missed that. The fact is I've stopped reading his posts. They're too long & windy for me. The content isn't worth the effort.

Anyway, the context is home inspections and writing narrative in general. I think I understand hyperbole but editorializing I wasn't sure.

One of the things that I have tried to stop doing was guessing from the facts. For example if there is a hole in the ceiling in the kitchen, I had said "theres a hole in the kitchen ceiling probably from a prior leak" only to find out later that it was due to a moved light fixture. So now if I see a hole in the ceiling I describe the hole and in absence of any other evidence I usually make the suggestion to inquire with the seller concerning the history of the hole. But editorializing I think goes beyond this and reports on issues where the evidence simply does not support that conclusion or sometimes any conclusion yet.

No, I think that's extemporizing, or maybe just "making assumptions". Editorializing is exactly what Roadguy explained above -- injecting opinion. Frankly, I think it's impossible to do a good job of home inspection report writing without doing some editorializing. People hire us for our opinions.

Housewisper also indicated that a benefit of having a glossary was that it helped an inspector not fall into editorializing by not having to explain the words one was using while writing narrative. Uh, I think.
If he really said that, I have no idea what he means. One doesn't follow the other.

So, what I think is that editorializing is a combination of several things with respect to inspection narrative:

1) Forming opinions not soundly based on the facts i.e.speculation.

I think your word is better. (speculation)

2) Elaboration of issues without stating the facts.

That's got nothing to do with editorializing, it's just poor discipline and poor writing style.

3) Obfuscating the narrative with explanations as to what the words mean.

That's not editorializing. Again, it's poor writing. Just use words that have common, easily understood meanings.

4) Providing concessions which you so excellently pointed out.

Got nothing to do with editorializing. Its more of a forensic thing.

Now some or all of these points may not be editorializing and be called something else "like bad report writing"

You can consider me that kid in class who doesn't get it and seems to make things too complicated. I appologize for that but its just the way my mind works. I am trying to reform my poor writing.

Well then here's something to think about. Your writing here on the forum is just fine. Why not write like that in your reports?

For anyone to comment, Is there a top 10 list of mistakes inspectors make in writing narrative so to speak that you can share?

Chris, Oregon

Start a new thread and I'll jump in.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Me, too. Simple declarative sentences work best, and don't be afraid to use the same word two or three times in the same sentence. That works better than a bunch of needless synonyms and/or dangling participles.

Stephen King experiments a lot with different styles, or at least he used to. Check out "The Dark Half." The short, declarative sentences keep the story zooming right along at a supersonic pace. Perhaps six sentences in a row will start with "He," but you don't notice, and you certainly don't think it's amateurish, 'cause it's so effective.

The opposite kinds of styles are employed by pedants, but as someone recently said, someone I've never met but whom I like immensely, "I've stopped reading his posts. They're too long & windy for me. The content isn't worth the effort."

A master of brilliant brevity, Ernest Hemingway, once said, "What good is it to write a thing, if no one wants to read it?"

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