To answer those who continue to make the silly claim that graceful writing has somehow been obviated by the Internet or by streaming video; and to rebut those who argue that news writing somehow lacks the creativity of other kinds of prose, here is Exhibit A: The lede from “After Splash, Nerves, Heroics and Even Comedy” by M. Wilson & R. Buettner in The New York Times, January 17, 2009:
“Some passengers screamed, others tucked their heads between their knees, and several prayed over and over, ‘Lord, forgive me for my sins.’ But a man named Josh who was sitting in the exit row did exactly what everybody is supposed to do but few ever do: He pulled out the safety card and read the instructions on how to open the exit door.”
US Airways Flight 1549 — which a four-year-old girl said had turned into a boat — never sank, unlike most of the nation’s daily newspapers. And if the Times itself goes under, in the words of an old folk song, it will be sad when that great ship goes down.
As for another prose winner, there’s Peggy Noonan’s moving column in today’s Wall Street Journal about the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States.