05
Dec
07

Journalistic Ambiguity…

I have commented in the past on how modern journalism seems to be riddled with poor journalists, from articles filled with false assumptions to improperly interpreted surveys and misleading statistics. But there is yet another form of poor journalism, that I like to call “Ambiguous Sensationalism”:

A woman showering after using the swimming pool at Best Western Soldiers Field Tower and Suites told police she heard a door open and saw a naked man at about 3:10 p.m. Sunday.

The man ran out of the room, pulled on swim trunks, hopped on a bike and road [sic] through the hallways, police said. – [Yahoo/AP]

Ok, now who wrote this? Notwithstanding the incorrect use of the word “road” where clearly “rode” was intended, the article itself is a study in journalistic ambiguity. It just doesn’t give you enough of the smaller details to get a good feel for the scenario. Certainly there is a story here, that a man rode a bike through hotel hallways, knocking two men down in the process. But beyond that, it’s all a big questions mark. Seriously.

This article begs more questions than it answers. Like, where exactly was the woman showering? In her room? Or at one of those poolside showers? And which door did she hear open? Her room door? Her bathroom door? Or an external building door by the pool shower? Likewise, where was the naked man? Inside or outside? Can you tell us anything!?.

It’s hard to even get a bead on what really happened unless you make a few unsubstantiated assumptions. And that, my friends, is not the stuff of good journalism. It’s certainly good for a laugh though…

Cyclist nabbed for motel hallway ride – [Yahoo/AP]

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