Thursday, June 01, 2006

OK, enough $#@^%$^%&* alliteration

Here's a tone- and taste-challenged 1A CP hed from a major southeastern daily. Try not to drive that K-R stock any farther down before the sale goes through, OK?

'Unbelievable' finds
in death of student

Friend says woman who worked with a charitable group was focused on ‘not messing her life up’

With a mere 7 grafs on the front, the anecdotal lede is barely clearing its throat (although at least it's clear that "student" and "woman who worked with a charitable group" are the same person). We know that the friend says the victim wasn't a partier but had to be nagged about it. All of which leaves us with some sense of confusion -- but a healthy dose of anticipation -- when we get to the jump. Unbelievable how?

Here are the succeeding grafs:
On Wednesday, prosecutor Bob Ariail said authorities are searching Souers’ computer and have developed a timeline of her whereabouts until 12:03 a.m. Friday, which was after she was dropped off at her apartment.

“There are certainly things that have taken place in this investigation that have led it in a different direction,” Ariail said, adding some of the discoveries have been “unbelievable.”

Ariail said investigators hope to have a DNA profile of the attacker today and say whether there was a sexual assault.

The State Law Enforcement Division has sent specialized investigators to analyze forensic evidence.

And that's about that on the "unbelievable" front. We're teased by the out-of-context quote, but when we get there, there's nothing to hold us up. Perhaps worse, there's nothing to tell us which sort of "unbelievable" light they might cast.

Copyeds, it's as true at your state capital dailies as it is in your beginning editing class: If the reporter can't explain the quote or put it into context, the answer is not to amplify the paper's ignorance by blowing the thing up on the front page.


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