Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Fake Scandal II

Another from the Jeff Gerth school of reporting on Democratic candidates.

Look, reporters - when you dig and you find nothing it isn't actually a story - especially one that should be on the front page.

...in comments, forest street nails it:

This article also has me convinced that newswriters are now working with a variation of the classic "inverted pyramid" style for writing wire copy. Used to be, writing in that style meant a strong lede with a hook, and then adding details as you go deeper in the story.

The new style is to put the most scandalous spin on the sitation in the lede, add what seem to be incriminating details in the first paragraphs, then add exculpatory information in the last paragraphs.

That means the story goes "poof" and disappears for those who read the whole thing, but it does leave a nasty impression for those who just scan the first few graphs.

And how do most people read these days?

Contact Daniel Okrent at public@nytimes.com and ask him why reporters are putting "damning" information in the lead paragraphs and putting the exculpatory information, which negates the entire story, at the end.