From my Sunday reading

First, in case you’re not reading this blog regularly — or the comments on it — here’s what Zack Lewandowski had to say about using Twitter to report a story over the weekend:

Tonight I am working a GA shift at the sports desk and I had to write a brief about a track and field event. The teams official website did not have any information up yet about the competition. I looked on the website and found the team’s twitter account, so I followed it. They had already updated the results of the tournament, including times, points, pretty much anything specific to the event. I was able to write a brief just off the twitter updates. We of course waited until the SID released a news brief via email- to confirm the information, but it was interesting that I had just written an entire story that was based off sourcing from twitter. Yet another example of how the social media has changed journalism in the present day.

Smart, smart, smart. And I love that part about verification (the subject of Tuesday’s lecture by Mike Jenner).

And then I read this piece by the New York Times’ public editor, Arthur Brisbane, about how the Times’ staff is using Twitter. Not much that’s new here, but I like how he pulls it all together.

Finally, remember how I talked about using strong, active verbs in leads? Check out this lead from the Times’ story about the fatal bus crash there Saturday.

A tour bus barreling south for Manhattan overturned at high speed on a highway in the Bronx early Saturday and was sliced open by a sign stanchion in a shriek of rending metal that hurled riders about like rag dolls. Fourteen people were killed and 19 were injured, 5 of them critically, the authorities said.

What do you think of this lead?


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7 Responses to From my Sunday reading

  1. Camille Phillips says:

    I’d have to read the rest of the story to see if those verbs were warranted, but the lead by itself seems a bit insensitive and sensational. It reads more like a novel than a news article. The verbs are certainly colorful and attention-grabbing, which is generally positive, but when it is describing an accident that cost fourteen people their lives I’m not sure it is good taste.

    • Katherine Reed says:

      I offered the link to the entire story so you could check out how well the lead is supported (and whether the story justifies it).

  2. Ryan Cornell says:

    Agreed. I also think it’s a bit too long.

  3. abraxton says:

    I love this lead, and after reading the rest of the story, I think it works because of the goriness of the accident and the quotes included. I liked that this lead reminded me more of a scene in a novel because of the good description and verb choice. I think the first sentence should have been broken up into multiple sentences. It was easy to skip over important details because they were all in one long sentence.

  4. I think that it’s just too long. The verbs are good, but to put four very active and very visual verbs together distracts readers from the content. You could even break up that lead into two sentences or the paragraph into two graphs.

    I do like, however, how each descriptive word choice is attributed to someone at the scene further down in the article. I wonder, with so many contributors to this story, who wrote the lead.

    • reedkath says:

      I don’t think it’s too long for the magnitude of the event. It reads very quickly because of the zest of the verbs, and it is perfectly clear. But civilized people can disagree. 🙂

  5. wardendrew says:

    Upon first reading this on the blog itself I thought it seemed way too long. After reading the article in its entirety though, it seems more acceptable and even fitting to me. The whole story is focused on the gruesome nature of this awful crash and I think this lead supports that focus very well.

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