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I'm Ired! :)

The Chron has a front-page story today on a convicted Texas serial killer who is, for a number of reasons, currently on schedule to be released in 2006. It's a terribly disturbing story, but it's an important enough story that one would assume that it would be assigned to a decent writer.

But then, that wouldn't be our Chron, would it?

This organization of the piece is bad enough -- it just doesn't flow logically. But the tortured prose is even worse. Here are a few of my favorites:

It's worth 72, a three-for-one bargain, a triple-time countdown to May 8, 2006.
That's three. Three three three. Three.
Next month will mark the 20th year since state District Judge Doug Shaver sentenced Watts to what was then thought to be an immutable 60 years without parole for burglary with intent to commit murder.
Nothing like the redundancy of immutable years without parole. Just to make the point, ya know?
If something is to be done in the Texas Legislature or in court to prevent Watts' release, the work must begin now.
I love advocacy journalism under the guise of objective, front-page news reporting.
On that day it will have been 24 years since Watts was halted in an 11-month rampage in which he killed 12 Texas women. It will have been 24 years since Watts killed his last Houston victim and was caught in an attempt to kill another. It will have been two decades since Watts' arrest and its subsequent revelations made him an albatross of embarrassment around the neck of the Houston Police Department.
It will have been 24 years. Again, that's 24 years. Two decades for those of you who don't understand the number 24.

And how can an arrest have revelations? An investigation might reveal, but an arrest is... an arrest.

And albatross of embarrassment? Please. Stop already!

It will be almost 40 years earlier than anyone might have hoped.
Anyone? Even Watts?
Now, as Watts' release date approaches, the compliant, soft-spoken inmate is becoming the focus of 11th-hour efforts to keep him in prison.
Is four years really the 11th hour?
In Ann Arbor, Mich., detectives are attempting to group information from other cities and neighboring Canada to determine if any DNA evidence might tie to Watts.
This is the second reference to Canada, yet it's entirely unclear to me how evidence from Canada will be used in U.S. criminal courts.
"It takes time to gather this material," said Ann Arbor special crimes Detective Mauro Cervantes. "We do have four years, so it's not pressing yet, but we do recognize the need to get it done."
Weird. I was under the impression we were at the 11th hour.
The science of DNA, in its infancy in 1982, might be applied if a single hair from Watts' head was left on LaQua's clothing.
I'm all for applied science, but this is an awkward phrase.
In Waltham, Mass., Jane Montgomery has kept abreast of developments in Watts' case, as has Harriet Semander of Houston. Both lost daughters to Watts, and both have been active in opposing his release.
Or have even actively opposed his release? (much less awkward)
Many of those survivors, already ired over the original handling of the Watts case, are further exasperated at the thought that he could go free.
Ire is a NOUN. One can feel ire, but one cannot be "ired." There is no such adjective.

The new editor at the Chron apparently is urging more original reporting and less rewriting of press releases. After reading this story, I'm not so sure that's a great idea. A well-written press release is an improvement over the mess above. A BIG improvement.

[Posted at 01:23 CST on 07/21/02] [Link]

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