"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The journalism of 20 years ago, April 19--part 3

From the front page of The Daily Oklahoman April 20, the three leads of the stories:

"A thunderous bomb blast rocked Oklahoma City on Wednesday, ripping a huge slice from a federal building and killing at least 150 to 200 people, many of them children."
--Steve Lackmeyer and David Zizzo

"Five small children, badly injured and bloodied, and a toy doll were among the first to be removed from the Murrah Building's second floor day care center.
    "'You couldn't even tell they had been little boys or little girls,' said… ."

--Diana Baldwin

"Oklahoma City will never be the same. "
--Penny Owen

Other credits: Main headline, Ed Sargent, newseditor; dominant photo, Jim Argo.

For many years afterward, every class I taught at UCO had students who were directly affected by the April 19 bombing, or who knew people who were victims. Today that is rare because they are too young to remember.
But consider these powerful opening lines and reporting. I still use these as examples of excellent reporting and writing, description and verbs and drama,  for my writing students. (And, proudly, Penny Owen is one of my former students and our graduate.)

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