Monday, March 2, 2009

Captain Obvious gets job with Associated Press

I had to chuckle a little when I read the lede to this Associated Press story in today's Kansas City Star:

"VIERA, Fla. -- Jim Bowden’s final move as Washington Nationals general manager was his own resignation."

Umm, wouldn't that be true of anybody who resigned? Usually, a person's resignation is their final task on the job. It would be weird for a general manager to resign and then keep giving orders or making trades.

As a journalist, I know how hard it is to write a good lede sentence. For me, the lede is always the hardest part of the whole article, and when I encounter writer's block, it almost always happens when I have a blank computer screen. Once I get the lede down, rest of the article flows pretty easily.

So I admit writing ledes is difficult. But the writer or some editor at the AP should have caught this, or someone at the Star should have rewritten it before they put it on the page.

Writing this post takes me back in time to another Lofflin class. I can't remember what class it was, but it involved a large project where we had to search for mistakes in newspapers and magazines. He gave us a list of, I don't know, 30 mistakes, and we had to find at least 25 of them or something like that. Some of them were difficult to find, but what always surprised the students was how common a lot of them were.

(By the way - has anybody else noticed that the Kansas City Star has pretty much thrown basic newspaper design rules out the window? There's a bad wrap on the front page almost every day.)

--Matt Kelsey

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