In a class I took with Patrick Winston, one of our assignments was to write a press release on a topic I have since forgotten. The first rule, he said, was to put the most important information in the first paragraph, the next most important in the second, and so on, because various publications will chop the release at various lengths to make it fit their desired column inches. It made perfect sense, but I hadn’t seen a counter-example failing until today…
Yesterday, Amal sent out the following e-mail to putz both linking to a story and conveniently summarizing it:
From: Amal Dorai
Summary: Marine has doctors cut off his finger to save his wedding ring. They do so, but end up losing his ring the commotion.
Today this same story appeared in the Metro, the free daily paper I read on the T every morning. Except there was something missing – the Metro, in its ongoing pursuit of journalistic excellence,
trimmed the story after the fourth paragraph. But the punchline doesn’t show up until the fifth paragraph. And suddenly I find myself grateful to Amal for sending out one of his stupid links because I knew why that story was tragically funny and the guy sitting next to me probably didn’t.