No “allegedly” about it

Screenshot from the Brisbane Times


While I realise that the lawyers tell you to stick an “allegedly” into sentences describing a crime, Marissa Callegeros, you got it very wrong this time.

Parents and teachers at a Brisbane Catholic boys school where a student was allegedly stabbed to death last month have denied suggestions of a culture of bullying at the college.

Elliott Fletcher is dead. He was stabbed and that stabbing caused his death. There is no “allegedly” that accurately fits into that statement.

I know that the intent is to be circumspect about the guilt of the other student who has been charged with the murder of Elliott, but the “allegedly” belongs somewhere in that collection of phrases a few paragraphs down the column, not in the sentences that describe Elliott’s death.

This is not just sloppy, it’s highly insensitive to the Fletcher family who know very well that Elliott is not just “allegedly” dead. Does the Brisbane Times not employ sub-editors any more?

Categories: media

10 replies

  1. Oh wow, that’s really something.
    .-= Chally´s last blog ..Linksplosion! Allywork edition =-.

  2. Eep! I’ve heard very similar gaffes on the TV news a few times lately. Do they not realise that making sense, like, matters?

  3. “Do they not realise that making sense, like, matters?”
    *sigh* Lack of compassion combined with lack of comprehension – it’s a dangerous combination.

  4. Former copyeditor here. And yes, we are an endangered species; I do most of my work for law journals these days. They’re in the business of caring about accuracy.

  5. Yes, I saw that, or something like it (I’m pretty sure it was an “alleged stabbing”) and I sat there slightly slack-jawed. The arguments from “traditional media” about the lack of quality control in blogging don’t look very impressive from here.

  6. Oh, my morning coco-puffs are trying to say hello to me again.

  7. Does the Brisbane Times not employ sub-editors any more?

  8. I think they were trying to say that the stabbing part is alleged, to cover the possibility that student fell on the knife or something. It’s still a stupid sentence, though.

  9. “allegedly stabbed by a fellow student” would be the ideal sentence here. Barring some really epic failure of kitchen safety or suicide, I don’t see how anyone can fall on a knife. Unless you were carrying a knife in your breast pocket or stabbed yourself in the thigh. But the chances of dying of a self-inflicted accidental stab wound are probably minuscule. Do you know if they’re hiring? I have a fair amount of experience in editing.

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