Saturday, May 25, 2013

3 shot in shooting!

Since the event was a "shooting," do you figure there might be a slightly more informative passive verb than "shot"? Maybe "injured," for example? And since it happened Friday afternoon, is there something more relevant to talk about on the homepage than what emergency crews were up to at 4:51 p.m.? (As of this writing, the most recent update was 8:40 a.m.) And could we get around to banning "respond" in cop ledes, please?*

The second example illustrates (as did the first) why the passive voice is generally preferred for crime stories. Passive heds make it easier to emphasize outcome, rather than process -- to talk about what happened (people were shot), rather than which agencies did which parts of their job (police investigated). Leaving out the subject lets the hed say more about the object ("S.C. man indicted," for example). And, in this case, you'd have the added advantage of being more grammary; "indict" is transitive, so it needs an object.

One more tip: Couldn't  you do a shift-enter before "in" to keep the prepositional phrase all on one line? Granted, that one's pretty trivial, and hed phrasing is the sort of thing Old Editors have long emphasized in the hope, rather than the knowledge, that readers prefer it. Good editing, though, is less about the amazing catch that leads the sportscast than about the accumulation of small things -- lots of small things -- done right. That needs to be our claim for a role for editors -- lots of editors -- in the professional product.

* Yes, stylebook fans, "Streets" should be lowercase. That'd be a nice touch, though I expect the lay reader would find "responding to scene" more annoying.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dr. R said...

A good example of what I try to teach my students about being DWI - Dense With Information: http://intelligentediting.wordpress.com/?s=dwi

9:53 AM, May 25, 2013  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I'd have preferred "Man indicted for scamming WalMart" - the hed reads like WalMart was charged instead of cheated.

ps - capcha is giving me "sirlion". I almost spelled it right. [shakes fist] Damn you, capcha!

11:58 AM, May 25, 2013  
Anonymous cheap runescape gold said...

I'd personally get favored "Man indicted regarding scam WalMart" * the hed says such as Supermarkets had been billed as an alternative to robbed.

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2:50 AM, May 29, 2013  

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