Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wrong cliche

The nice thing about daylight? Whatever your problems are, "in the dark" is a lot less likely to be one of them. Here, our friends at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network went from the sensible "Deadly storms leave millions without power during heat wave" (around 9 a.m.) to "Millions in dark" (around 11 a.m.).

This is a fairly serious event. Heat waves are a different sort of slow-onset disaster; their toll on life and health can be ambiguous, obscure and non-timely, making it harder for them to find a place on the news radar. If you have to resort to stock phrases in covering them, try to pick a stock phrase that doesn't contradict your dominant image.

Today's tip for all you junior-league players out there: Put the exact death count in as few places as possible. That reduces the risk of reporting "5 dead" in your homepage blurb and "7 dead*" in the hed you reach by clicking through.

* As of this writing; it could change as the story is written through.

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