Task: Work assignment

Exercise 4 - From Keywords to Full Text

Published: 20.05.2010, Updated: 30.03.2011

Read the notes below and then answer the questions at the end.

A battalion of Romanian soldiers sent to Tahiti. Purpose to help after disaster killed 200,000.  Story appeared in Romanian blog, Times. ro.  Story imaginary.  Presented as true.
Picture of soldiers on beach. Blog quotes Romanian defence minister: “Haiti, Tahiti, Papiti, names so similar. So sorry”. Russian, Italian, Hungarian newspapers picked up story. Television coverage. Says Ionut Foltea, originator of spoof: “We specialise in jokes. Want to give people a laugh. A lesson for all. Check sources. No one in touch with Times. ro.
Foltea happy though. Hits on website up from 4,000 a day to 25,000.

Based on text in The Guardian Weekly, March 19.25. 2010


  1. Turn the notes above into a short news report written in standard English.
  2. Briefly explain what you have done to convert the notes into normal standard English.


Suggested key
  1. The Romanian blog, Times. Ro yesterday presented the story of a battalion of Romanian soldiers who were sent to Tahiti to help in the rescue operation after the earthquake disaster on the island killed 200,000 people. To give credibility to its story, the blog showed pictures of soldiers on the beach and quoted the Romanian defence minister, who said they were so sorry because these names  - Haiti, Tahiti, Papiti - are so similar.

    The story is a joke, but several newspapers in Europe picked it up and even gave it television coverage. The originator of the spoof, Ionut Foltea, says that they specialise in jokes and want to give people a good laugh, adding happily that they have noticed a jump from 4,000 to 25,000 hit a day on their website, but added that no news agency had been in touch with Times. ro. The lesson, though, must be to check sources carefully.
  2. The material in exercise four consists of notes written in sentence fragments. The news text above has converted the notes into complete sentences, some of which are fairly long and complex, which is the normal style of news reporting.