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never mind your news; here's my news

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 30, 2010

Question: How do you insert a mention of the sex-abuse scandal into a story about new appointments to the Roman Curia?

Answer: Gratuitously.

AP takes the prize, for putting the reference to the scandal in front of the actual news in the lede:

Preoccupied for months by the clerical sex abuse scandal, the pope on Wednesday shuffled the Vatican bureaucracy before heading off on vacation.

There’s no evidence—in the story that follows or anywhere else—that concerns about the sex-abuse scandal caused Pope Benedict to delay today’s appointments. So why is that phrase inserted at the very opening of the AP report?

Well, somebody is preoccupied.

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  • Posted by: SentimentalGent - Jul. 05, 2010 3:10 PM ET USA

    I still work for a newspaper, and while it could be that the reporter added the "scandal" phrase, it could have also been done by an editor(s). I've had things like that happen to some of my stories just to add some controversy. There are editors out there who consider the readership to be idiots who would only be interested because there is something controversial in the story, even if there is no direct relationship.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jun. 30, 2010 6:52 PM ET USA

    I wouldn't blame the reporter. Having spent my entire working life in newsrooms, I think there's at least a 50-50 chance that she knew her editors would see the story as inside baseball (or, worse, inside Vatican) and that it would get spiked---or maybe run at 11PM, between cycles. The only way she had a chance of its seeing print would be if she tied it gratuitously to the Scandal. At least that's a possibility. So it's an institutional problem with the AP. (On which you do blame it, Di.)

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jun. 30, 2010 6:34 PM ET USA

    I wouldn't read too much into this particular line. The reporter was probably thinking the pope must be very tired from dealing with all the stuff that's been in the papers (and also in the AP, because that's all they see there too) and in need of a vacation.

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