I DISLIKE writing Op-Ed pieces that look like a book. You know, Chapters 1, 2, 3, and so forth.
If I want to write a novel, I’ll outline my write-up with different chapters. According to the Writer’s Digest, the general guidelines for short stories range anywhere from 1,500 to 30,000 words; novellas run from 30,000 to 50,000; novels range from 55,000 to 300,000 words.
For my columns, the longest could run to 650. That’s already a mouthful.
If journalism is literature written in a hurry, I expect the average harried reader reared in Facebook or Twitter to read shorter prose.
In fact, a recent Microsoft research says the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds.
Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds.
On average, says wikiHow, a short column will be about 500 words or less, while few columns go beyond 1,200 words. My Monday’s column on Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) marathon went for roughly 300 words.
But the prolonged Sunday’s brownout deserves a second look. In its press release, Ceneco consumers connected to Alijis Feeders (covering Barangays Alijis, Mansilingan, Singcang, Taculing, Tangub and the municipalities of Murcia and Salvador Benedicto) experienced extended power interruption on August 2, 2015, Sunday from 6 p.m.-12:42 a.m. of the following day.
Misery does love company.
Further, the press release said Ceneco’s extension of the preventive maintenance activity was due to unanticipated delay in the removal of the existing power transformer and installation of the new transformer. The clearances of the existing platform that obstruct the removal and installation of the 42-ton transformer and difficulty in maneuvering of two crane trucks also contributed to the delay.
I’m not convinced this serves as a good excuse, er, reason for delayed power restoration. Does its management do time and motion studies? What was the basis for saying the preventive maintenance will take 12 hours that later extended to almost 19 hours?
The PR says intermittent rain and reconfiguration of secondary bus bar and control wirings are also some of the factors that caused the delay of the maintenance activity. Well, how much did these factors contribute to the delay?
Ceneco Board and Management apologized for the inconvenience and sought the understanding of their power consumers. Fine. As in, government contractors have to pay fines for delays in schedule.
I’m sure, however, that no one in Ceneco will be required to pay a fine. How is accountability defined in the company?
Why am I asking for accountability? It is because last Monday, we experienced FOUR brownouts. Yesterday, we had a brownout in the morning.
Apology not accepted.
Postscript: The MS Word count says this column ran to 460 words.