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Aftermath of Plymouth Robbery



The Star Tribune article, “Police identify bank robbery suspect as Oak Grove man,� is an updated article about the man who robbed a bank in Plymouth and was in a standoff with police for five fours on Friday. This updated article tells the most recent news of the man’s identity, that the autopsy results concluded that his death was a suicide, and that he had previously been in federal prison for robbing a bank in California.

This writer had the challenge of writing an effective lead. In this lead, the writer first gave a short background of the standoff and his death, which could help readers remember the event or learn about it if they haven’t heard the news yet. After the short background, the writer included the man’s identity, which is the most recent information. This lead fit the background and recent news into one short sentence.

The Pioneer Press article, “Plymouth/ Robber called family, shot himself,� also covers this news event. This writer’s lead was different because this writer made the lead more dramatic and suspenseful by describing the scene, the robber’s feelings, and the details of his suicide while holding off on revealing his name until toward the end of the lead. The writer also holds off on making it clear who the man is specifically until the next paragraph, which was a nut graph that gave the background of the robbery. However, the writer still held off on mentioning the standoff in a woman’s house until the fourth paragraph when the writer began the chronological part of the hourglass format.

In my opinion, the Star Tribune writer did a better job at writing a more effective lead. I like that the writer gave the background in the lead because not only does it help readers remember or learn about it if it was the first time they heard of this event, the writer also makes it very clear what is the news in this story. Whereas, the Pioneer Press writer did not even make it clear to the reader what this story was about in the lead, and the writer included the name of the robber but did not say who this person was until the next paragraph. Also, I didn’t like the lead of the Pioneer Press article because the writer made it too suspenseful and dramatic for a straight news story, not to mention a serious crime story. The Star Tribune writer’s lead was more effective because the storytelling was more objective and straightforward. Also, I didn’t like that the Pioneer Press writer said the robber was stressed out “to a point only he could imagine,� because this was an editorial from the writer, and the words, stressed out, were in quotes without attribution and the quotes didn’t seem necessary.