Monday, August 28, 2006

A rule of cop reporting

Here's a rule of cop reporting that you should have heard before:

Charge 'em on the front, clear 'em on the front

which is just another way of saying that the disposition of the case -- guilty, not guilty, or Let's All Go Home and Forget We Said Anything, OK? -- needs to get roughly the same prominence as the initial arrest.

So -- yeah. If you spent your 1A real estate to proclaim that the JonBenet case had been
or that the hunt for the killer had
or that the family had been
... you need to spend a bit more of it reminding your readers how wrong you got it. Yes, it's a little uncomfortable proclaiming that the family's now semi-officially UNABSOLVED, but maybe that's a nice reminder of why you shouldn't write question-begging heds in the first place.

And that's about all there is to say about that. Well, maybe one more thing. Next time somebody looks at a story this porous and says "well, maybe it's a brief if there's room," give 'em a listen, OK?


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