Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Amish school shooting - Eagle News Service

Is it just me, or does anyone else think Wednesday's story about the Amish school shooting was poorly written? The article was pulled off Eagle news services, so that might explain it.

In the first paragraph, the writer reveals that the gunman told his wife during a phone call "that he molested two young relatives 20 years ago when he was a boy..." Wouldn't it have been better just to write "20 years ago" or "when he was a boy?" Seems redundant to me.

Further along, the story reads that Roberts (the gunman) may have been planning to sexually assault the girls before the police arrived...gee, you think so? I understand what the writer was trying to express, but he should have phrased it differently.

As the story continues on page 4a, one paragraph begins "Of the five girls still in hospitals, a 6-year-old was reported in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl was in serious condition..." The same paragraph continues with "three girls, ages....remained in critical condition. The use of "the five girls" in the first sentence of the paragraph should suffice. After that, the use of "girl" just becomes redundant.

One more thing: the article also reads that "Roberts felt painfully conflicted..." Is the word "painfully" really necessary? The term "conflicted" is sufficient. "Painfully conflicted" is just redundant.


Blogger Nicole said...

Hi, this is Nicole, an Elliott School grad who is now a copy editor in Dallas.

I thought your point on the byline was interesting -- that because this is from Eagle news services, that might explain poorer writing.

Usually, papers use the "news services" byline when they're combining several stories into one -- taking pieces from, say, the New York Times version and the Washington Post and the McClatchy Tribune News Service.

It's harder to make all the separate elements flow together, so you might have a wire editor spending more time on combining than editing, meaning there's less time to fix other errors.

An interesting observation!

10/06/2006 9:46 AM  

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