When Redundancy Isn't a Crime

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Dr. Jerz asks us to consider how much room is left for style and depth in a crime report when there is no time for interviews or intense follow-up.  I think that in the crime report Would-be robbery victim fights back, the journalist shows there's still room for a touch of style.  I know, most of us cringed when reading "police said" over and over again.  After all, we're taught to avoid redundancy.  But, at this point, we know that this "police said" is necessary.  It's also a good way to "pass the buck," if some information from the police turns out to be wrong.  What if the robber is caught and has light hair?  The reporter is free of critique because, hey, the  "police said."  This journalist does a good job of including all the facts and keeping things concise.

In the other article, Plea deals reached in Jeanette enslavement, kidnap case, more detail was added and the wording was less repetitive.  There wasn't nearly as much "police said" or "allegedly" surfacing on the page, because this case has already had time to progress, and the need to clarify each statement has dissipated.  There's more personal detail about the criminals, more quotes, and more trial information.  Clearly this is because there was more time to write. 

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4 Comments

Wendy Scott said:

I have to agree with your post. You anyalzed the article in a sense of time constraint like I did. The journalist didn't have much time to think on a source of words, its type-cut-publish. It seems as if thats what he di with the redundancy. I think overall he did a god job. An I like your idea on the police said therefore the reporter/journalist has time or could change his thoughts or just know that it wasn't a direct wuote from them.
I agree with your oppinion on the second one the article was well written. I recall that the crime was presented in 2007 so I thought the reoccurance of the crime information that happened years previous could have been cut. Then realized that the overall story might need some padding to understand the basis of the trial. It quoted two different dates "2007" and this particular article published on "2009" do you think it is old news? I think that the information is good to bring back to the community to let them know they have reached a verdict on the criminals. What are your thoughts?

Angela Palumbo said:

Yes, I did notice that the second story was much better written. There was more variance. However, neither article was written particularly well. Look at my blog or April's to see the mistakes we found.

Aja Hannah said:

Man, I didn't even notice the redudancy. It was so short I was just flipping through it in my mind. Maybe I've gotten used to this blandness.

Josie Rush said:

Wendy, I agree that there should be some follow-up, especially if this story was covered indepth when it was occuring. I think that the court case and the verdict qualify as "new news" if for no other reason than the fact that this is a new development (even if it's in an old story).
Angela, you and April both pointed out some rather disappointing mistakes. I think that the mistakes in the first article are more forgivable, though, when the time constraints are taken into consideration. And we have to remember that some others reading casually who catch the mistakes aren't going to care if there were time constraints or not. It's like a doctor operating on the wrong part of your body and telling you it was because he was tired. Just an excuse. Readers don't want excuses. Though, I think as long as the mistakes aren't so horrible as to take away from the content and comoprehension of the article, it's not a disaster.
Aja, you know, I think I am, too. It didn't really bother me, which is a little scary.

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Josie Rush on When Redundancy Isn't a Crime: Wendy, I agree that there shou
Aja Hannah on When Redundancy Isn't a Crime: Man, I didn't even notice the
Angela Palumbo on When Redundancy Isn't a Crime: Yes, I did notice that the sec
Wendy Scott on When Redundancy Isn't a Crime: I have to agree with your post
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