Not the whole story

Not the whole story

Posted August 29th, 2010 by debritz

In journalism, it's variously called a "write-off" (or "woff"), a "blurb", a "gofirst" or a "standfirst" - a short, snappy line that summarises or teases a story and, hopefully, encourages people to keep reading. Some sub-editors are very good at writing them, to the point where the standfirsts oversell the story and reading on only sets up the reader for disappointment. Some blurbs, rather like the one I've cut from brisbanetimes.com.au and pasted here, miss the point. Surely the big news about Matthew Newton is not how he worked so hard for months and will now miss the chance to host The X-Factor, it's the fact that he had a spectacular metldown (not his first) and allegedly beat up his (now ex) girlfriend Rachel Taylor, who has taken out an AVO and vowed to press charges, and was consequently dumped by the show and by his own management. I don't think anybody is, as the blurb seems to imply, standing around the barbecue today discussing how unlucky Newton is. (Apart from the one X-Factor wannabe quoted in the story.) In fact, I suspect many people will, like News Ltd writer Paul Kent, vigorously take another tack. My opinion? Newton probably is ill, in which case he needs treatment, but that shouldn't be allowed to overshadow what he's (allegedly) done. We should all take a reality check on who the victim really is.
PS: Yes, the blurb is supposed to summarise the story at hand, but it doesn't even really do that. Maybe "X-Factor contestant defends hard-working Matthew Newton"?