Copy-editing with a twist

The ins and outs of being a copy editor

Getting creative on the cops beat

Posted by Noel Sanchez on November 21, 2008

Here’s a bizarro story from the Miami Herald.
Synopsis: Guy got shot on the night of his birthday after his family thought he was asleep. They found him a mile or two from his house, shot to death outside of his car.
Ridiculous sentences:
  • Detectives speculate Santos may have been robbed, but even that is iffy. Iffy? Really? Way to sound sensitive.
  • A burly man dressed in a plain white T-shirt, blue basketball shorts and flip-flops, Santos drove a white Chevrolet Impala. What does burly entail? Was he heavyset or big and strong? Why not just say that? Did he have a beard? The word “burly” always makes me think of Bluto from the Popeye cartoons. Did he look like Bluto? That’s a description I could get behind.
  • Perhaps Santos left to party somewhere? A nearby strip joint, maybe? A smoker, maybe he went out for more cigarettes? Detectives have only theories. What the hell? How can this blatant speculation make its way into a ‘reputable’ newspaper? That’s the real questions that need to be answered.

I’m all for getting creative with mundane stories. But that was a bit ridiculous.


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