Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Circular lede of the (fleeting) year

Not the worst lede in and of itself, but when paired with that second graf ...

BOCA RATON — The man wanted for questioning in Wednesday's double-homicide at the Town Center mall is likely the same armed robber who blindfolded, tied up and handcuffed another woman when he abducted her from the same mall in August, according to police and a report of that incident.

Investigators believe the perpetrator of the Aug. 7 carjacking and kidnapping of a 30-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son at gunpoint in a mall parking garage is probably the same man who bound and shot Nancy Bochicchio , 47, and her 7-year-old daughter, Joey Bochicchio-Hauser, late Wednesday afternoon or evening.

There's plenty of confusion to go around here (as in: Since the cops seem, per the second graf, to know the guy did it, do you figure they want him for more than "questioning?" Or if they don't know who it is, isn't it a bit silly to point out that "police don't know whether the man has killed before"?) But in traditional j-class terms, let's look at how the second graf provides new data to help support the contention in the lede.

Lede: Cops think Attacker X (for Xpesmas) is also Attacker A (for August).
Support: Because cops think Attacker A is probably also Attacker X!

This is where editors are supposed to act like readers: If it sounds silly to you, imagine what it might sound like to some poor civilian who doesn't have the benefit of all that high-powered journalism training?


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