Thursday, May 3, 2007

A1: "Two teens prompt two pursuits in stolen jeep incident"

As I hoped, Mirsada Buric turns in a followup on the pursuit story from May 1. Together the stories present an object lesson in reporting.

Both rely heavily on police reports, including raw tips from witnesses. I'll focus on just one example. One of those tips in the preliminary report describes the perps as men in their 20s. Once they're in cuffs we learn that they were both 15.

This detail colors each story for the reader. In the first we learn that adult criminals are lurking in wait to steal cars. In the second they are bored teenagers hanging around looking for a thrill. These are very different lessons.

This is why I characterized this and other details in the first story as 'clutter' -- not because I knew the story better than the reporter, but because they didn't tell the reader anything useful, and we could expect that most of them were junk.

2 comments:

leftturnclyde said...

Vootie

courierfriend said...

I like what you've pointed out here, Steve. It's a good explanation of your previous commentary. Thanks for that.