Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Lessons in Burying the Lede: Human Kidnapping Edition

Here are the first six paragraphs of Mark Gomez and Patrick May’s story on an area interest story for the San Jose Mercury. See if you can spot the error:

An iPad “test model” was one of the items taken during a robbery and kidnapping at a Cupertino house earlier this month, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office, which would not disclose more details about the stolen device, but said it has not been recovered.

It’s unclear whether the Apple item was related to an upcoming product release or was an outdated model or test device.

“We are still investigating everything about this case,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. James Jensen said.

The robbers took the device, along with electronics, prescription drugs and cash valued at $7,500, from a Cupertino home during an incident in which a 20-year-old man was kidnapped and robbed after answering a woman’s online advertisement.

Authorities on Tuesday said the victim told detectives that “a test model iPad from Apple” was taken along with the other items.

In the first paragraph, the kidnapping is mentioned, but it takes until the fifth paragraph before the fact that a human being was kidnapped is acknowledged. And then Gomez and May jump right back into the crazy stolen iPad model in the sixth paragraph.

Here’s how I imagine the conversation between police and Apple legal went:

Apple: Hello, this is Denise in legal speaking.

Police: Hi, yeah, this is Sgt. Jensen with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. I just wanted to let you know that we noticed one of your prototypes was stolen from the home of one of your employees after he was kidnapped, and we haven’t been able to recover it. We know you’ll wanted it back, but we’ll need it for evid—

Apple: Wait, back up. One of our employees was kidnapped? Is he okay? How’s he doing?

Police: Good, yeah, fine. Hey, listen: I’d love to know what new features are on it. You know, so we know what to look for. Can I run two apps at once? Is it really light and thi—

Apple: Are you crazy?

Or something like that, if the police have similar priorities to the Mercury and the Register and PC Magazine and CNBC and Le Soir and the rest of the news outlets, apparently.