Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Today's editing tip

In these harried times, one of the most important services a desk can provide for busy readers is to "cut the clutter" so they can "get to the point" and "save time." Let's practice on this AP lede!

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Jim Stevens says he's not particularly religious and is clueless about why an image resembling Jesus Christ keeps appearing on his pickup.

That's a lot of information to absorb. Let's omit the needless words and see if we can make the main point "stand out" for the reader:

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Jim Stevens says he's not particularly religious and is clueless about why an image resembling Jesus Christ keeps appearing on his pickup.

Isn't that better? We've gotten rid of all the excess words and gotten straight to the point!

Which we had hoped was clear before this, but since it doesn't seem to have sunk in, it bears repeating: No deities on foodstuffs, kitties, load-bearing surfaces, windows, motor vehicles or ancient mysterious medieval cloths. Ever. Period. It isn't news. You can't make it news. Don't try.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous raYb said...

I'm guessing it's because he's not particularly religious that he's making such a mistake, but the more I look at that photo, the more it looks like Brian. Must be the Southern Baptist upbringing.

10:30 AM, November 05, 2009  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

It's Johnson City. It IS what passes for news around there.

raYb - my favorite was the Englishman who found an asparagus that was ABSOLUTELY Hemingway, though he of course called it Jesus.

1:12 PM, November 05, 2009  
Blogger Strayhorn said...

But wait! Does this exclusion apply to Ringo appearing in awater drop?

5:20 PM, November 05, 2009  
Blogger Electric Dragon said...

I remember a story some time ago about an oyster that supposedly looked like Jesus: but actually looked a lot more like footballer Iain Dowie.

9:23 AM, November 06, 2009  
Blogger Kristen said...

I think it's important to note that in this context, "deities" includes Elvis.

12:28 PM, November 11, 2009  

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