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Rachael King, Journalist

Here’s a modest story by Rachael King, a reporter in Oregon and a Columbia University comparative literature grad, which may explain why, despite its modestness, I like her story about a local police chief who’s studying Persian.


1. She gets the global facts right and cites her sources:

Persian is considered more difficult for English speakers to learn than Romantic languages like French, Italian and Spanish, but easier than Arabic or Mandarin Chinese, according to the National Virtual Translation Center, an office of the federal government. The language uses a modified version of the Arabic alphabet that has 32 letters and looks very different from English.

That last sentence could use some work — does the language or the alphabet look different from English? But she sneaks in the info that “Persian” is sometimes called “Farsi.” This makes me suspect that she originally wrote “Roman alphabet” but some dim-thinking, fast-working editor changed it.

2. It portrays how he’s studying the language and what he expects to do with it, and portrays them realistically. This leads to some intriguing narrative bits:

Bush said he does not expect the ability to speak Persian to come in handy as a police officer in Prineville. He added that he also speaks German and has only needed to use that language twice in his years of work as a Prineville police officer.

(I wonder what those two instances were?)

From a general reporter, this is pretty good stuff.