Monday, June 01, 2015

Miami Herald Deathwatch (cont.)

There's a rule in journalism that says you're not supposed to "bury the lede" of a news story.

Put another way, it means a writer should "lead" a story by placing the most important or newsworthy information at the top of the piece.

One extreme example of burying the lede would be if a reporter wrote a story about a politician announcing that he was running for the President of the United States, but didn't mention until the 27th paragraph that the politician had murdered his mother, father and four siblings when he was just eight-years-old.

Now here's an example of a lede from today's New York Times that gets right to the point: "Jack Warner, a former vice president of world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, defended himself against corruption charges on Sunday by citing an article from The Onion, apparently unaware that it was satire.

"Mr. Warner, 72, who was arrested last week in connection with a wide-ranging criminal investigation by the United States Justice Department, held up the faux news report, calling it evidence of an American conspiracy, in a video statement that was uploaded to the web and then removed later in the day."


Click to enlarge.


By now you're probably wondering, "Is there anything worse than burying the lede?"

As a matter of fact there is.

Let's let Miami New Times managing editor Tim Elfrink explain with this tweet:

That's right...the Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles has a piece on the front page of today's paper that doesn't just bury the omits it completely.

In her piece, Charles goes on for almost 3,000 words without a single mention of Jack Warner defending himself by citing an article from a satirical website. This despite the fact that just about every other news outlet mentioned The Onion connection. (See for yourself by Googling "jack warner onion."

I've asked Charles in an email why she left that out of her story.

If she responds, I'll update this post.

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