Monday, October 01, 2007

More from News Week

As a rule, the inverted pyramid calls for stuff to move from the general to the specific. If the first sentence says Local Man Hit By Meteorite, the second will narrow the generality down: name, age, occupation and so forth. Or if the first sentence says Bomb In War-Torn Ishmaelia, the second might specify which city or region, who did the bombing and who suffered from it.

That's why the cutline here looks so odd: A Columbia firefighter waits at the mezzanine level of Gates Rubber Co. at 3015 LeMone Industrial Blvd. today after a machine caught fire at the plant in southeast Columbia. Once you've stated the specific address, backing out to the general "in southeast Columbia" is out of place. Sounds as if the cutline writer was trying to pack in information from the story (usually a good idea) but forgot that such data usually go in a predictable way.

And the hed is enough to make you swear off the active voice for life:

Fire evacuates employees

Uh, no. The employees might have evacuated the building, or the company might have evacuated its employees, or the employees might have been evacuated, but the fire didn't evacuate anybody.

And whatever happened to a good old-fashioned THOUSANDS FLEE EARTHQUAKE, anyway? Even if it's just a couple dozen?

1 Comments:

Blogger Old Word Wolf said...

"Swear off the active voice for life." Perfect.

8:22 PM, October 01, 2007  

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