by Roger Pynn
OK … so I’m a news junkie. Or, as I’ve said from time-to-time, “my name is Roger and I’m a recovering journalist.”
And if anyone wants to know why I’m trying to kick the habit, all you have to do is read junk like the online story posted below to know that the cornerstones of the news business have gone to hell in a handbasket. The lead paragraph of this “story” could well have been written five years ago.
By Desiree Stennett, Orlando Sentinel
5:45 p.m. EDT, October 11, 2012
A black car was driving erratically on Interstate 4 eastbound for several miles. It exited on John Young Parkway. The car is missing the front driver’s side wheel and weaving in and out of other cars.
The car was reported stolen in Seminole County. Polk County deputies say the incident began in Orange County but would not confirm any details.
News helicopter showed the suspect park his car outside a hotel near L.B. McLeod and John Young Parkway, visible near Interstate 4.
It is unclear who was driving. Law enforcement officer were not actively pursuing the car but are now outside the hotel with weapons drawn.
Reporting is about answering five questions: who, what, when, where and why … of course, there’s always that “how” thing, but we’ll talk about that another time.
Reporting is also supposed to be about good grammar. “News helicopter showed the suspect park his car outside a hotel near L.B. McLeod and John Young Parkway, visible near Interstate 4” doesn’t qualify.
When I was an editor, reporters had better copy in their Reporter’s Notebook than this story.