Clear and to the Point

11 August, 2011

Who’s shooting whom?

Filed under: accuracy,communication,editing,writing — monado @ 10:47
Tags: , ,

It’s important in technical documentation to be clear about who does what. It’s also important in news reporting. One of my pet peeves is this kind of headline from the Montreal Gazette:

Headline from Montreal Gazette, 'Bystander among two dead in Montreal police shooting.'

The headline is ambiguous; but this is the first article about the crime, so you can read the first paragraph to find out that the police were the ones who fired carelessly into a public street and killed someone who was merely walking to work.

News article with marked phrases 'Montreal police shooting' and 'Two men were shot by an officer'

In later articles, the phrase “police shooting” will appear again and it will be harder to find out if the crime is shooting of police or by police. This kind of writing should be outlawed!

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