Sunday, October 02, 2011

Now we understand why the headline said 'Killer Cantaloupe'

Sometimes we can use just a bit too much shorthand in trying to compress things. For instance, there was this lede on a story by the AP's Marilynn Marchionne that went out under the headline Killer cantaloupe, scary sprouts --- What to do?

MILWAUKEE -- Avoid foreign produce. Wash and peel your fruit. Keep it refrigerated. None of these common tips would have guaranteed your safety from the deadliest food outbreak in a decade, the one involving cantaloupes from Colorado.
 Oh no! A "food outbreak." Quick, man the guard towers. Shoot the melons on sight. Make sure the asparagus doesn't slip through the bars. Anyone seen the cabbage?

Yeah, readers can probably get it, but as professionals our craft should be better than that. It's an outbreak of food-borne illness, which is what the lede should say.  Another one, I fear, to chalk up to overworked editing hubs.

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At 10/5/11, 8:16 PM, Anonymous Ciera Choate said...

I completely agree. I am a "purest" is what I call myself. I can't stand overly-wordy articles. Just say what needs to be said and get on with it.


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