Leading Off (1/27/10)

1. Last night a woman at the Whole Foods on Preston was beaten and robbed of a $90,000 wedding ring. Police are soliciting tips to catch the perp.

2. I’ll give you the great lead to a story about a park that’s causing problems in University Park, and then I’ll make two predictions: “Ah, Barbara Hitzelberger Park, eastern parcel, version 1 — maybe you just bloomed too boldly for your little corner of the world. Designed to give delight, you got little but derision from the residents of University Park. Your black-eyed Susans looked like pompoms, they said, your bluestone benches like funeral biers.” 1. Avi Selk, the writer, is clearly new to the paper. He’ll stop trying so hard after he’s worked there awhile. Which is a shame. Really did like that lead. 2. One of my brothers or sisters from Park Cities People will point out in the comments that they had this story months ago.

3. Let’s end on a sad note, shall we? Ken Green is a professional golfer. His son died at SMU on Friday — which is just the most recent tragedy to befall Green. Unbelievable what that guy has had to deal with.


  • Avid Reader

    Hey Tim, PC People and the blog had this story months ago. 50/50 so far.

  • Bill

    Just last week, HBO did a story on Rick Green(father of the SMU student) and his tragic accident that took the lives of his family members, killed his dog and left him an amputee. It was featured in the same episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel as the Joe DeCamillis and Rich Behm tent collapse at Valley Ranch.

  • @ AR…Umm, I think you are thinking of the other WF robbery, where a woman was followed home and beaten/robbed. Please clarify.

  • CDD

    I’d be willing to bet this ring story is fake, just like the other one. No way this could have happened at 7pm – I live in the area and it is jam packed at that hour. And she goes home first before calling 911? Hmmm.

  • Avid Reader

    @amanda, look at #2.

  • SAM

    Avi Selk is an amazing storyteller! I love reading his articles in the DMN. He has to be one of the best general assignment reporters to ever work for them.

  • fish9er

    @CDD, unfortunately this one is true…friend of a friend and i saw some before/after pics of her face, yikes. sure, shouldn’t have driven home first, but chalk it up to shock?

  • Avi Selk wrote a creative lede on a story well-covered elsewhere already, as noted by others:


  • CDD

    @fish9er – sorry to hear that. still interested to hear more details of the police report, though. I’m around that place enough to still find it sort of an unbelievable story, you know? I suppose I just don’t want it to be true.

  • First of all, the attack was Monday night, and the woman is a personal friend of mine I have known for years — beautiful woman. This is my neighborhood Whole Foods, I live there, was there at the same time LAST night. This is not a hoax, and I probably would have done the same thing: gotten in my car and driven to the place where I know or want to believe I am safe and find my husband as soon as possible. What irritates me is that there is a security guard at WF but he stands inside, looking (I assume) for pilfered items. He protects Whole Foods. He needs to be OUTSIDE in the parking lot. All those quadrant shopping centers have high crime and they need to address it.

    The photos of her bleeding face are quite graphic, and we have decided not to post them on DallasDirt. But it is very much the reality of what happened to her and, unfortunately, a huge wake-up call for all of us.

  • fish9er

    @CDD – very hard to believe when you know an area like the back of your hand. it’s when you least expect it, it seems…

  • Bill Marvel

    “Avi Selk, the writer, is clearly new to the paper. He’ll stop trying so hard after he’s worked there awhile. ”
    Beneath you. Really beneath you.

  • @Bill Marvel: What’s beneath me? Implying that the paper doesn’t foster good writing? I learned the other day about a contributor to the paper, an arts and culture writer, who got fed up with the editors there who told her to stop using the word “trope,” because they assumed their readers didn’t know it. They said they didn’t want the readers to have to look up words.

    Look at all the tiny, little paragraphs, Bill. It’s a signal that they think people are afraid of fully developed thoughts, of complexity. They’re afraid to read.

    Compare the DMN to the Wash Post. Never mind whether the writing is “better.” Just look at how much longer the paragraphs are, the vocabulary used.

    So, yeah, Selk’s whimsical lead jumped out at me. It was a pleasant surprise. I could have left it at that, but I didn’t.

    Beneath me? You don’t know me very well.

  • Bill Marvel

    I know from personal experience that an intense effort is being made at the paper to get excellent writing out of the troops, and that this effort has encouragement from very near the top. As you also know, Tim, encouragement will not of itself produce good writing. There just aren’t that many good writers out there. They have to be found and cultivated, and here, again, I know from personal experience that the paper has taken specific steps in that direction. The atmosphere at the News is miles beyond what it was, say, even five years ago.
    Beyond that, I can only guess that you haven’t been reading the paper very closely for some time now. Myself and several ex-colleagues who still draw paychecks from Belo (Praise God!) and who have a real commitment to good writing have been keeping a kind of informal portfolio of the best stuff in the paper over the past few years — mostly in a “hey, look this!” spirit. It’s growing thick, and compares favorably to the best of D. Obviously most of the pieces are shorter and serve different purposes. But the prose is clear, vivid, energetic and built on solid reporting.
    Which brings me to my last point: I do know you very well. I’ve had the great fortune to have been edited by you, and my own writing was very much the better for it. That’s why I think your drive-by remarks about the writing in the News was beneath you, or at least what I would have expected of you. It was snarky — I know, I know: this is only a blog, but still… It was not up to the quality of thought or of writing I know from experience you expect from your own writers. Why inflict such cheap shots, then, on your blog audience? There are plenty of things to criticize about the News — as there is about D. That the paper discourages good writing ain’t one of them.

  • Glenn Hunter

    @Tim: What does “trope” mean?