Monday, February 14, 2011

Anybody hurt?

Wondering why your exercise from Thursday says "anybody hurt?" next to the first two or three grafs? It's probably because you spent those paragraphs explaining that at approximately 12:30 p.m. in the afternoon, one passenger vehicle did attempt to pass another passenger vehicle on the freeway and did slide across the median, thus sideswiping a tractor-trailer and leading to an ensuing conflagration that did destroy an entire load of household cleaning products.

You were concentrating on process rather than outcome, and thus the fourth paragraph -- the one in which all those individuals were transported to people were taken to the hospital -- didn't stand out as very interesting. Too bad, because that was sort of the point of the exercise.

That's also my reaction to "process" heds like "Man attacked with hatchet and shot": Gee, anybody hurt? As it turns out, yes. Somebody was killed. Indeed, somebody was killed in a "gruesome homicide scene" -- scratch that, in "what authorities say was a gruesome homicide scene." (That's as opposed to the tidy homicide scenes around Myers Park, where the maid puts away any flatware that isn't actually sticking out of anybody.)

But isn't journalism supposed to have attribution? Sure. Especially on the parts that might be open to dispute, or for which you want to be sure you can invoke the mantle of privilege should there be some chance of libel. That doesn't extend to the grue of the homicide scene.

Much of that should come under the general heading of common sense (like, say, telling your audience whether the photo you present belongs to the decedent or the roommate). That's not a bad place to start when you're telling stories. And a good way to keep it foremost is to think about outcomes rather than processes.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Great! It look more good latest information I love it so much…..


8:39 AM, February 15, 2011  
Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

I swear my first thought was "Shot? The kind you put, or the kind you shoot birds with?" Then I realized it was a verb...

12:49 PM, February 15, 2011  

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