Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New trend in newspaper writing?

It's been almost five years since I worked for a daily newspaper, so I'm not up on the latest writing trends. I always preferred the inverted pyramid method of covering a news story: Put the most important facts first, then move on to the trivia.

I guess the new way of writing is opposite, for The Rolla Daily News, part of the GateHouse Media, so it's on the cutting edge, started out a story about a big drug bust this way:

It was a quiet, cool, clear summer morning. Dew-soaked lawns glistened in the sun as it broke above the trees.

At a residence in the 1000 block of Ninth Street, all was quiet inside.

Outside, there was activity in the yard. Hummingbirds were busily siphoning nectar from a red and clear plastic feeder hanging from a soffit. A rabbit hopped across the yard, barely bothered by the four law-enforcement officers and another who took positions at the front door, side and rear of the home.

Their actions were synchronized, accomplished without a word.
When all exits were watched and accounted for, then came the command that breached the the morning calm.

“Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol. Open the door!”

That news story has the morning dew, hummingbirds, bunny rabbits--but no names of people arrested. I waded my way through the whole story, but never found the names. Maybe they were in another story.

Oh, well, I've written some stinkers I wish I could take back, so I'll not criticize too much.--RDH

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