Friday, April 1, 2011

One little sentence that does a good deal of work

On its face, there's little remarkable about this sentence in today's local sidebar, by Frank Bodani and Jim Seip, to the story on allegations involving former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky:

"Mostly, the shocked responses went on and on, interview after interview -- from former players to those in the York community who got to know Sandusky through public appearances here."
But that sentence does a lot of work, even coming fairly late in the story as it does. Perhaps because it comes fairly late in the story. If you've read up to that sentence, you've heard from three people talking about Sandusky.

The reporters want to tell you that those three represent a lot more. They could have simply said that -- 'Those three were among many people who praised Sandusky on Thursday.' But in writing it the way they did, with the double-double of "on and on, interview after interview," they gave readers a sense of the waves of sentiment coming from Sandusky supporters, and also offered readers a bit of an insider's glimpse inside the reporting process -- I'm making all these calls, and everything I'm hearing is supporting Sandusky. 

So in addition to delivering information, they're bringing the reader closer to the process and thus to the story itself. I thought that was cool.

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