Tuesday, June 2, 2009
A tale of two articles (one day apart)
Long-time newspapers folks—those who claim to have ink in their veins—will confirm that headlines are critical, a good lead paragraph extremely important, and then the rest of the information presented in clear, easy to read prose with a closing paragraph that wraps it all up nicely.
And editors who do layout will also verify the critical importance (echoed by real estate agents) concerning "location, location, location".
The Daily Hampshire Gazette has come under withering fire yet again. Remember that non-critical front page article about the award winning Umass professor who subscribes to the whacked theory that 9/11 was an inside job published on, you know, 9/11?
This time it's for an overly sympathetic puff piece on 75- year old Parvin Niroomand, the driver who ran down cyclist Misty Bassi, 33, on a bright clear Memorial Day morning and fled the scene.
Now obviously had the driver been a white college age male who drove back to his Frat House with blood on the cracked windshield, the Gazette would not have done that. In fact, Amherst PD probably would have arrested such a perp on the spot rather issuing a “summons to appear in court.”
But the driver was a woman, senior citizen and a Muslim--any one of which would not have tripped such a PC sympathetic response, but when you combine them…
Nick Grabbe called me yesterday afternoon for a slight correction: the Gazette had run his initial nicely written sympathetic background article on Misty Bassi the day before the puff piece on her killer, but unfortunately editors chose to combine it with Scott Merzbach’s top of the front page article about the older woman getting charged (but not arrested) for hit and run.
Mr. Grabbe’s prose did not even start until page B-8 so many, many readers probably never saw it.
Regardless, the front page puff piece on a driver who crushes a cyclist and then runs strait home was completely inappropriate and probably approved by the same editor who combined two stories that should have stood alone the day before and buried the important one on page 8.
Thus the (deserved) public stoning.