[Edprof] Seeking stories with big-picture flaws

Susan Keith susank at scils.rutgers.edu
Sun Aug 26 11:53:03 PDT 2007

Dear editing profs,

At this time of year, I'm always trawling for published stories with
big-picture flaws -- buried ledes, unanswered questions, missing
explanations, unfocused chronology, etc. -- for use in class. Stories of
this type -- I like to call them "head-scratchers" -- have bigger problems
than AP style or grammar errors. They're priceless for use in class, I
think, because such stories are harder for an editing prof to "create" than
stories involving AP style and grammar errors and because these sorts of
big-picture flaws can be big turn-offs for readers.

I imagine that many of you are looking for and saving your own
"head-scratchers." How about, as a way to generate some immediately useful
conversation on this list, we share some of our best bad-story examples?

Here's a link to a story I'll be using in class:
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2007/07/propst_says_allegations_are_no.html It
was the lead story on the top of A1 in the mid-sized newspaper from my
hometown about a month ago. As you read, notice how far down you have to go
before you learn what the allegations are.

Susan Keith, Ph.D.
Assistant professor
Department of Journalism and Media Studies
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 932-7500, ext. 8235
susank at scils.rutgers.edu
Office: CILS 106

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