Tuesday, August 10, 2010...8:46 pm

#badjournalism: I'm sorry – what was the story again?

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Via Soilman comes an example of a news item from the Telegraph that fails to tell the reader almost everything they need to know in order to make sense of the story.

It’s impossible to pull out any extracts from the story that make any real sense. Go and have a look and see if – from the story – you can figure out:

  • What happened
  • Where it happened
  • Why it happened
  • When it happened

A choice example of journalism that only makes sense to the journalist…



  • Grrr, I feel irritated at reading that – because I want to know the whole story now and what’s offered by The Telegraph is just a jumble of info. Surely the point of a journalist is to turn complex stories into accessible articles? “Write a story so even your granny could understand it,” was what I was told at journo school. Fail indeed.

  • Do you suppose it was written like that or edited to pieces afterwards?

  • God – I hope it hasn’t been edited. That would be awful…

  • Nice spot, but this seems to be an article which has been published without the intro and first few pars. The first par, beginning “His lawyers”, clearly suggests his name has been mentioned earlier and makes no sense as an introduction by anyone’s standards.
    Rather than bad journalism, this is almost certainly a case of absent sub-editing.

  • But, regardless of whether it’s missing the intro and first few pars, it’s still muddled up and hard to follow.

  • Hi Alex – welcome.
    You’re right about the first paragraph – it seems to have been lifted as the online story’s introduction/standfirst – so you have to read the intro as part of the story, or it seems incomplete (which is awkward). Otherwise, it’s still a bit of a mess…

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