Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
Does the Flint Township View’s Writer Make Light of Flushing Teen Suicide/shooting in Prep Hockey Game Story?
There are a couple different ways a writer could write a lede for a high school hockey gamer.
1.) Write in the conventional AP-style, keep it newsy and straight.
2.) Start with a player's performance, use a good quote early and go from there.
I've written hundreds of high school game stories/summaries, and I understand not wanting to write a bland lede. However, I was shocked Wednesday when I read a prep hockey game story in a local newspaper, The Flint Township View.
The writer, Brandon Pope, thought mentioning a tragedy in passing would be a suitable way to begin his record of Swartz Creek-Clio versus Flushing (Michigan) which, unfortunately, has recently dealt with two untimely deaths. Within the past month or so, two Flushing students lost their lives all too soon—one to suicide, the other to a shooting in Indiana, according to reports.
The shooting and suicide made local news headlines—both in print and on television—and sent a shock wave through Genesee County.
Pope, whose story doesn't mention the tragedies beyond his lede, began the game story as follows:
A few weeks ago, the Raiders' game against Swartz Creek-Clio was postponed due to a suicide death of a Flushing student, which came just weeks after another Flushing student was shot to death in Indiana. That game was made up on Monday, and the Dragons took it to the Raiders, 6-3.
Pope goes on to name players who scored, stating Player X did this, Player Y did that—the basics. But nowhere in the story does it mention anything about the tragedies. His lede, other than using "took it to the Raiders," would have been appropriate, in a sense, if the game was played in honor of those students.
And it wasn't.
There were no quotes from coaches or players saying anything about the deaths. So why begin the story that way? What significance did it have?
Pope's lede was uncalled for. It was unprofessional and extremely insensitive. While his intention likely wasn't to make light of the incidents, he used poor taste and judgment even writing about them.
Out of respect to the families, I won't mention the names of the two deceased teens. However, it is important to get the context of the whole story, which is why I'll supply links to MLive.com's (The Flint Journal) coverage of the stories.
After reading those reports, revisit Mr. Pope's lede, and you'll soon realize that he made a critical mistake—and exercised a gross lack of compassion or judgment—when he wrote it.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.