One of the more striking phenomena of recent years is the trend toward making certain news articles duller, vaguer, and more insignificant sounding. Stories used to be written to begin with the five W’s — Who, What, Where, When, and Why — as close to the top as human verbal ingenuity could manage. But lately, many stories are constructed to bore the casual reader into moving on to the next story before he has much of a clue what this one is about.
From the Washington Post news section:
By Katie Shepherd
August 19, 2020 at 3:32 p.m. PDT
PORTLAND, Ore. — A crowd of protesters marched to a county building in southeast Portland on Tuesday night, where a handful of people in masks and all-black outfits threw rocks through windows and lit a small fire inside
Just a small fire.
, marking the 83rd night of protests in Portland that have led to millions of dollars in damage to city property, officials said.
Several hundred people participated in the peaceful protest
See, it was a peaceful protest.
before a smaller group broke off
Small, smaller, smallest.
, police said, lighting fires in dumpsters in the street to block traffic and slow down police who later tried to clear the scene. Some sprayed anti-police graffiti on the county building and scrawled instructions to “aim here” across the windows on the first floor. A few masked people threw rocks through window panes, and someone tossed a flaming newspaper into the building, according to reports.
The fires lit inside the building remained relatively small
, leaving behind scorched curtains and piles of ash on desks near the shattered windows. The flames did not burn for long, but they grew large enough to set off alarms and trigger the sprinkler system, officials said. Police made two arrests Tuesday: Peter Curtis, 40, on charges of criminal mischief and reckless endangering, and Jesse Hawk, 23, on eight common protest-related charges: riot, interfering with a peace officer, resisting arrest, unlawful use of a weapon, assaulting a public safety officer, harassment, disorderly conduct and attempted escape.
Small charges. Anyway, these sound like boring personalities of no interest to reader:
Peter Wilson Curtis, aka "Tabitha Poppins," the transvestite who goes to #antifa riots almost every day in Portland, was arrested for the 3rd time overnight. Curtis is charged w/reckless endangerment, escape & more. Curtis was quickly bailed out. https://t.co/rRrcXrb38b pic.twitter.com/BQVXmv3d5Y
Peter Wilson Curtis, aka "Tabitha Poppins," the transvestite who goes to #antifa riots almost every day in Portland, was arrested for the 3rd time overnight. Curtis is charged w/reckless endangerment, escape & more. Curtis was quickly bailed out. https://t.co/rRrcXrb38b pic.twitter.com/BQVXmv3d5Y— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) August 19, 2020
When are certain terms first mentioned in this article?
“Black Lives Matter” — 11th paragraph
“Trans…” — never
“Antifa” — never
“Arson” — never