“Ok, can you do some more probing? New York will want to know,” is an odd way to start a story about Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland. The inverted pyramid it is not.
Turns out that the Associated Press – syndicater to the stars – inadvertently pushed out an internal memo rather than the news story.
You can read it here – in all its glory.
It features such gems as:
they particularly want to know why now. (has he never set foot in switzerland before?) sheila, theorizes that’s because they’re under intense pressure over ubs and want to throw the U.S. a bone, but can yo ucheck with justice department sources there?
I think Sheila might be on to something.
It’s a “there for the grace of god go I” moment for most journalists. And in some cases a “there went I” moment.
Back in the mid-1990s I worked on a weekly tech paper where we had place holders for various pieces of page furniture.
The place holder for the top-of-the-page strap read “Strappy Something”. The pulled quote holder read: “Pull quote to go here to liven up an otherwise deadly dull page”.
Sure enough, both went out unchanged one particularly fraught press night.