Sunday, July 10, 2005

Tone deaf?

Is it just me, or do you find the same tone problem I do with this lede from a local paper this weekend:

William Bush survived being shot during a robbery at his Hopkins convenience store last year.

The 70-year-old wasn't as fortunate this time.

A customer found the body of the longtime store owner at 11 a.m. Friday inside Bush's Convenience Store at 7122 Bluff Road.

The 70-year-old wasn't as fortunate this time? I guess not. He's DEAD! I just find that entire sentence condescending -- to the victim and the crime.

How about simply this:

William Bush survived being shot during a robbery at his Hopkins convenience store last year.

But at 11 a.m. Friday a customer found the body of the longtime store owner inside Bush's Convenience Store at 7122 Bluff Road.

The next graf goes on to explain that a sheriff's spokesman says it was foul play, but investigators aren't sure yet exactly how he died.

Am I being too harsh here? These sorts of ledes just rattle my teeth.

3 Comments:

At 7/10/05, 11:05 PM, Blogger Phillip Blanchard said...

How about leading with the poor guy being found dead?
The coincidence of having been shot previously is just that, a coincidence, and old news.

 
At 7/11/05, 10:38 AM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Even better, of course. When I redo these things, since I'm being critical already, I try to be a minimalist and work as much as possible with the initial structure. (Of course, one could say, since you're being critical already, just redo the whole thing ...)

 
At 7/11/05, 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst part about things like that is that a reporter wrote it, a copy editor thought it was ok and an editor sent it to print. Hopefully the poor man doesn't have any family that is going to be majorly offended.
There are times to try and be interesting with ledes and times to just say it like it is.

 

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