Saturday, June 21, 2014

That's not much better

Well, speak of the devil and he will surely park his satanic vehicle on the street the day they're supposed to sweep the leaves. No sooner do we get done complaining about the prevalence of the Thurber Lede at certain downtown founts of knowledge than this appears:

On the night accused shooter Theodore Wafer fatally shot an unarmed woman on his porch, he was overcome with fear, yelling from the backseat of a police squad car: “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God.”

That’s some of what the jury can expect to hear in the highly anticipated second-degree murder trial of Wafer, who is charged with killing Renisha McBride last November after the 19-year-old showed up on his porch of his Dearborn Heights home just before dawn, within hours of crashing her car into a parked vehicle.

Why the paper bothers with "accused shooter" when the next two words say he did it is a little puzzling, but it supports the idea that details in general are going unnoticed. So does the glitch toward the end of the second graf: "his porch of his Dearborn Heights home." And the lede of the next story downpage (now fixed online; print version shown here). And the second graf of the 1A lede story:

Gov. Rick Snyder officially approved the state’s portion of the grand bargain Friday, signing into law a package of bills provides the state’s share — $195 million — of the $816-million deal in which ownership of the city-owned museum would be transferred to a nonprofit trust, with proceeds going to ease deep pension cuts.

OK, maybe that was an extreme case of the strange belief that journalism always get better when you take out "that." But otherwise, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that nothing but the occasional spellcheck stands between the writers and the audience. That's unsettling for the audience, but it should be really, really scary for the writers -- the unreported victims of the War on Editing.

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