Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rapping This Story

We've got date/sequence problems here, in addition to pure police jargon issues.

First, the cop talk. The guy with the gun is the shooter or killer. He's not a suspect. If someone is indeed arrested and charged, then he is the suspect. Second, we've got our old "person of interest" term here, one that we ought to avoid unless we attribute it to the cops. It is meaningless. And, third, we discover later in the story that the cops have detained two people.

On a side note, who cares what he was driving? Does it deserve to be in the lede, even in car-centric Los Angeles? Only after reading the story all the way through do we discover that the car was found at the airport, after the police found their "person of interest." But we get no sense in the story flow that the car is important.

On the chronological problem: The cutline says he arrived "this morning" and the story is datelined for today. But the story also says he flew into the airport on Monday. So one element or the other needs to be fixed.

Cutline: Shooting in the valet area of the upscale mall sends diners diving for cover. The rapper had flown to L.A. this morning to work on his first album, slated to be out this summer.

Rapper Dolla is shot, killed at Beverly Center

May 19, 2009
An Atlanta-based rapper was fatally shot in the valet waiting area of the Beverly Center mall Monday by a suspect who fled in a silver Mercedes SUV, according to police. Officers later detained a "person of interest" as he approached the ticketing area at Los Angeles International Airport armed with a gun.

I'm thinking adding the following to every post critical of editing or reporting: Cutbacks are forcing people to do more work than they should be doing. Criticism is not directed at the reporter or editor involved in the story, many of which are rushed into online publication before they are ready.

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