1

The purpose of a headline, they say in journalism school, is to draw the reader in, so the headline writer for Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer Chris Fedor’s story in The Plain Dealer did his job Thursday.

The sentence in Bold is very confusing to me. It seem to me that beat is the verb of the main clause, but what about "did his job"? Also, how come a writer(for Cleveland Cavaliers) can beat a story(writer Chris Fedor’s story)? It doesn't look logical.

So, I am wondering how to parse the sentence correctly? Maybe, it makes more sense to insert a "who":

the headline writer for Cleveland Cavaliers [ who beat writer Chris Fedor’s story in The Plain Dealer ] did his job Thursday.

The full source.

2 Answers 2

2

First of all, this is a very convoluted sentence and it's not surprising that you are confused.

Second, beat as used in the sentence isn't the verb to beat. It's a type of newspaper writer.

The wikiHow article "How to Be a Beat Writer" describes this term:

Experienced reporters are usually assigned a beat, an area they cover on a regular basis, when hired by a media entity. Depending on staffing, you may be assigned a beat on a subject area unfamiliar to you. Whether working for a newspaper, radio or TV station, or a news website, you need to understand how to develop your skills to become the best beat writer in your field.


So, let's analyze the sentence.

  • There was a headline writer.
  • He wrote a headline for a story published in The Plain Dealer.
  • The author of the story was Chris Fedor.
  • Chris Fedor was a beat writer who wrote stories about the Cleveland Caveliers (they are a basketball team) as part of his beat.
  • The headline writer did his job on Thursday when he wrote the headline for the story.
  • We can infer (from the part of the sentence not in bold) that the headline was successful in its attempt to draw in readers.
1

I found this sentence really confusing, too, until I finally figured out that "beat writer" is a noun phrase here.

The correct interpretation is "the headline writer for [the story] in The Plain Dealer did his job Thursday", where the story is "Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer Chris Fedor's story". This last phrase means "the story written by Chris Fedor, who is a beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers".

It's a badly written sentence. A better way to write it would have been something like this:

The purpose of a headline, they say in journalism school, is to draw the reader in. A headline writer for The Plain Dealer did his job Thursday when he wrote the headline for a story by Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer Chris Fedor.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .