Beautiful News Writing: “Rampaging rooster attacks girl.”

I don’t want to make light of a little girl’s fear, but she wasn’t seriously hurt, and this is a damn fine lead: When they heard the screams, no one suspected the rooster. (Tampa Bay Times, 2002) And from a little farther into the story: The rooster struck around noon as Dechardonae ventured from her house in the middle of the cluster to visit her Uncle Tony, waiting in the…

Handwritten, all-caps note on printed script from which Trump read: "THERE WAS NO COLUSION"

Fascinating details in reports about Trump’s Russian retraction

We’re all still reeling from Trump’s statement yesterday that he “didn’t see any reason why it would be” true that Russia had meddled with the US election. Standing there next to Putin, he publicly rejected the positions of multiple US intelligence authorities. Today, in the face of blistering criticism from foes and friends alike, including powerful members of his own Republican party, the president backtracked, saying that he misspoke –…

In journalism, nuances such as “sources tell us…” “reportedly…” “it appears…” “confirmed…” matter.

I don’t click on headlines that use words like “might be” or “possibly.” Journalists are not in the business of reporting what might happen. Neither do they repeat rumors. A thing is not necessarily true just because a source — such as the neighborhood busybody, a crook caught red-handed, a prankster, or the President of the United States speaking at a rally — says it. We expect good journalists to work…

Uneasy Lies the Head — Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power

John Stubbs reviews Stephen Grenblatt’s Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power The psychology and spectacle of villainy and the intoxicating nature of power clearly preoccupied Shakespeare. The grandeur, amoral freedom of action and sheer theatrical potential of tyrants must have moved and excited him. The case of a confirmed murderous dictator, after all, especially one with the charisma, merciless intelligence and twisted charm Shakespeare bestows on Richard III, gave unequalled scope for…