Dec 24, 2014
Another Shot in the Dark (or) Fleet Street Explains All
One event. Two headlines and two ledes:
Tense scenes in Missouri after police shoot another black teen
BY ERIC M. JOHNSON
(Reuters) - An 18-year-old black man was shot and killed by police late on Tuesday at a gas station in a St. Louis suburb near where unarmed teen Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in August, police and local media said.
POLICE: MISSOURI OFFICER KILLS MAN WHO PULLED GUN
BY JIM SUHR
BERKELEY, Mo. (AP) -- A suburban St. Louis police officer shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him at a gas station, police said.
Well done, Reporter Suhr, with a nod to your editors on the St. Louis bureau night desk.
Each version appeared about the same time, shortly before 7 a.m. Each reporter had access to the same information.
It took Reuters five paragraphs to get to the second most important point: The dead man had pointed a pistol at the cop. Reporter Johnson and his editors decided Ferguson and its protests were more important than the apparent facts in their spot news report. What's a little incitement to riot when you are reaching for headline drama?