Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Arse covering by committee

How do people think things will read better if they're written by committee?

I'm waiting on one last document to be signed off on one of the magazines I write for - and it's being held up by needing sign-off seemingly by everybody in the organisation.

Now the draft I sent over on Monday wasn't the most riveting piece of copy in the world, but it did what it said on the tin; was written to length and was even grammatically correct.

What came back, had been pored over by a director, her department, a marketing team, uncle Tom Cobbly and Santa's elves. It was painful: substance replaced by PR gush and 150 extra words supplemented by half a dozen extraneous apostrophes.

Why is there such an arse-covering mentality out there - especially in our public services?

And why does arse covering seem to inevitably end up as a series of poor compromises?

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