#118

The Times Special Edition

All these clippings are from The Times, June 21, 2017.

This is a ridiculous intro. There is no need to try to dress up a perfectly good story. I would do this:

A pensioner who says he hates cats because they kill birds and wildlife has been jailed for 12 weeks after shooting a neighbour’s Siamese.

‘A private decision’? What’s the alternative, ‘after a public vote’? Even if the agent makes a fatuous statement like this, there is no need to treat it as holy writ and put it in the intro. I would do this:

Sir Daniel Day-Lewis, the winner of three Oscars, has announced his retirement from acting at the age of 60.

The least a sub should do is to get the same age in the copy and the headline. And Wilbur Smith is so well known that he should be named in the heading, not reduced to ‘Writer’. You could do this:

£10m deal
for Wilbur
Smith, 84

though ideally it is better not to split a name between two lines. However the content is more important than the rules.

 

Why is the quokka described as the world’s happiest animal? You won’t find out from this piece, but it turns out to be a combination of its friendliness and its apparent smile. It would be worth mentioning in the context of this story that it is endangered, being down to a few thousand individuals. The highlighted paragraph makes no sense. This is a case for applying the rule ‘If in doubt, leave it out’.

Another tedious intro. How about

Rock star Brian May, who has fought high-profile campaigns against foxhunting and culling badgers, has a new target.

The 69-year-old Queen guitarist claims British Airways has ruined the view from its first class seats.

I think this clearer format is better at highlighting the serious nature of May’s complaint.

I had no idea what this intro was about but I was directed by a younger person to a website called TV Tropes (‘the all-devouring pop-culture Wiki’) on which the following appears:
“Dudes! If the tent is a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’!”
Charlie to Sam and Dean, Supernatural
I think it is safe to say that dudes who are in tune with this are on the whole not going to be Times readers, and try as I may I cannot see the connection with suitcases on wheels. This is pointless showing off.

 

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