Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm in the shower, dear

An alert reader out west* somewhere sends in this entry, which points up two related perils of the Haste To The Web era:

1) AP stories might be published just as they am.
2) AP stories might be published with "editing" from somebody who barely escaped the editing class at the Procrustes State J-school.

Here's the lede, which you'll probably recognize from around the turn of the year (no need to embarrass the AP staffer, whose fault this isn't, but next to his byline on the Web site is the notation "10 minutes ago," suggesting some in-office pressure to make the site look awake):

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A law school student and former beauty queen who has posed for a racy calendar while brandishing a weapon has been accused of kidnapping, biting and threatening a former boyfriend with a handgun.

Fulbright, who competed for the Miss Arizona title in 2005 and 2006, recently completed a semester-long unpaid stint clerking for a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Raner Collins, his office said. She also poses wearing a shiny black bikini in a 2008 calendar that features women holding guns.

That's certainly helpful. The elegant coordination after "accused" goes untouched, while the second graf -- in which we actually learn the law student's first name -- is deleted. Moral: When you stitch the patient back together, be sure you haven't left any scalpels behind. They look awful on the X-rays.

But the fun is just beginning:

Authorities think the dispute began because the ex-boyfriend was believed to have stolen jewlery given to Fulbright by the former beau suspected of helping in the attack.

When Fulbright finished her shower, she allegedly bit the man on his forearm, right hand and ear, held a butcher knife to his head, and told him she was going to kill him.


Hold the nominations for the Janet Leigh Memorial Shower Out Of Nowhere Award! The graf we're missing here -- and yes, the Web editor in question seems to have achieved his/her goal of brevity by simply deleting every other graf (it would have been nice to fix "jewlery," but that wouldn't really save the reader any time, would it?) -- is this one:

Fulbright invited the man to her apartment, then excused herself to shower, said police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco. Then two men showed up and bound him with plastic ties and duct tape, accused him of taking the jewelry, and threatened to shoot him with pistols, Pacheco said.

The shower, the first reference to the main character, and the first explanation of why there are two people called "former boyfriend" to deal with (graf 4 mentions "another man she had previously dated") -- all gone like summer wages. Quite a lot of confusion for one shift.

* Tnx, Dragon.

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6:57 AM, December 08, 2008  

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