Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Silly Lede o' the Day

Mention the numbers "90210" and most adults will recall the hit FOX TV series "Beverly Hills 90210." But it's likely those same people would draw a blank if asked what the numbers 5-2-1-0 stand for. -- Brooky Brown, Venice Gondolier.

Silly 1: "most adults" to most adults -- and to journalists who care about accurate, precise reporting -- means a majority of grownups. Pardon me, but I'm skeptical. And even if I'm wrong, I'd like to know what survey Brooky took to arrive at this sweeping generalization.

Silly 2: The second sentence is a non sequitur. It doesn't follow. It has no logical, emotional, social, geographical, biological, economic or philosophical relationship to the prior sentence. Whether people remember a television show with a number in its title is unrelated to whether they know what 5-2-1-0 stands for.

Silly 3: The numbers are not in the same format, which might have passed for a semblence of semblence. One number is five digits attached to a geographical location. The other is four digits separated by dashes attached to nothing.

Please, whenever an irrelevant pop-culture reference, served up with a sweeping generalization, appears in your copy, use the delete key before you use the send key. Readers want news, not the frazzled associations of a TV junkie.


  1. A SCMG maxim: Always take the easy way out when crafting a lede!

  2. 78. The number of days before this paper ceases publication?
    Place your bets ladies and gentleman.

  3. i have to ask -- what DOES 5-2-1-0 stand for?

  4. The story doesn't actually say. A sidebar -- imagine if it had been cut because and ad came in -- says:
    5-2-1-0 promotes healthful choices:
    5 -- fruits and vegetables -- more matters. Eat at least 5 servings. Limit 100-percent fruit juice.
    2 -- cut screen time to 2 hours or less a day.
    1 -- Participate in at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
    0 -- restrict soda and sugar-sweetened sports and fruit drinks [sic]. Instead, drink water and low-fat or regular milk.

    Irregular caps, lack of AP style, non-parallellisms, and misplaced modifiers appear as shown.

  5. it's in the lede but not even explained in the main bar? that's perfect.

  6. As I mentioned in a previous post, I've retired here from Ohio. My small local daily paper there was respected by people in town for doing a good job covering the town and although some of the papers reporters were young, they seemed like hard working kids trying to do well.
    This local paper makes mistake after mistake and no one there seems to care. I called the publisher about a two month ago after they spelled two headline words wrong on page one in two seperate issues.
    I don't talk about personal conversations but even he did not seem to happy about it.