Take a look at the opening paragraphs of this news article.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has already helped block one of former President Donald Trump’s allies from winning the Republican nomination for governor in a crucial battleground state. Now he’s hoping for a repeat in his own backyard.
Ducey is part of a burgeoning effort among establishment Republicans to lift up little-known housing developer Karrin Taylor Robson against former television news anchor Kari Lake, who is backed by Trump. Other prominent Republicans, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have also lined up behind Robson in recent days.
What is notably missing is a crucial bit of information, and that is when the election is due to take place. In fact, when I first read through the entire article, I could not find the date at all. Then I read it through more carefully and found it mentioned in passing in the fifth paragraph.
Few states have been as central to Trump’s election lies as Georgia and Arizona, the two closest 2020 battlegrounds where he pushed aggressively to overturn the results and fumed when Kemp and Ducey refused to go along. Trump has already faced a setback in Georgia, and the Aug. 2 race in Arizona is among his last opportunities to settle scores and install allies to lead states that may prove decisive if he decides to run again in 2024.
I get annoyed when news outlet do not provide basic information. For example, this long report could not spare the space to give the time when the Cassidy Hutchinson congressional congressional hearing was to be held, surely a crucial bit of information for those who want to watch the hearings live, especially since the article hyped how important this event would be.
These are not aberrations. I frequently find that reporters do not provide the basic facts and instead leap straight into their analysis and interpretations. I thought that the basic rule in journalism was to start off with the who, what, when, and where information, leaving the why for later. I have no problems with explanatory detail, but it should be secondary. Nowadays journalists seem to be far too eager to jump to tell us what it all means, rather than what has happened.
For example, in the article about the Arizona race, it would be easy to add the parts that I have indicated in italics.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has already helped block one of former President Donald Trump’s allies from winning the Republican nomination for governor in a crucial battleground state. Now he’s hoping for a repeat in his own backyard in the primary race to be held on August 2.
In the article on the congressional hearing, it would be easy to start as follows:
The Jan. 6 select committee is set to hear from a onetime top aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday at 1:00pm ET, an abruptly scheduled hearing whose announcement riveted Washington.
When news reports talk about a future election, I want to know the exact date, not a statement like ‘next month’ or ‘in August’. When they give the results of an election, I want to know the votes or percentages for each candidate and preferably also the percentage of people who voted. Instead we are often given statements like “X cruised to an easy victory in an election marked by low turnout.” I would prefer to make those judgments myself.
The reader should be expected to have to dig around to get basic information that is central to the news report.