Boring + No Flow + Appositive Phrases = Howl.

Last week, Inquirer writer Angela Couloumbis brought readers a story from the paper’s Harrisburg Bureau.  In this article, Couloumbis described a recent hearing at the Capitol concerning police beer raids of local bars.  The officers claimed the beers and kegs had not been registered and needed to be confiscated.  But bar owner Leight Maida testified that some of the beer had actually been registered and was simply mislabeled on official documents.  Whop-de-do.  Where’s the story?

The actual meat of the story – the fact that these bar raids are due to antiquated Pennsylvania state liquor laws-is revealed by Couloumbis early on, but not in an effective manner.  In fact, her set-up is just wrong: “The recent raids on three Philadelphia bars illustrate that Pennsylvania has ‘this crazy web of really chaotic, really dense laws that just don’t work,’ the bars’ owner testified at a Capitol hearing Tuesday.”

Eh.  Kind of weak.

Moreover, Couloumbis decided to tell her story through the experience of the aforementioned bar owner.  I would’ve liked more voices- who else has this happened to?  Although Couloumbis does sprinkle in some state law information regarding beer purchasing and consumption, it’s not enough for me to know what’s going on.

In my opinion the worst part of this boring article was the lack of flow, most likely due to haphazard writing.  Between ellipses, participial and appositive phrases, and incorrect quote placing, this article was a snoozer.  One might think that bar raids and re-vamping beer laws should make any story interesting, but Couloumbis proves otherwise.

One ellipse is fine.  Multiple begins to lose credibility and looks shady.  Meanwhile, participial and appositive phrases make a writing lose steam, causing readers to tune out.  HOWL!

– Julie Gargotta

Editor’s note: The image above comes from Signe Wilkinson.

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