There is a phrase in the news business called "burying the lead." This happens when a key element to a story is not placed in the headline or even in the first paragraph of the story. Instead, it is somewhere down in the story's body. This can be done for several reasons. Sometimes, an editor just won't see the value in it. Other times, particularly in the case of press releases, the details might be so odd that the people sending it would prefer not to call attention to it.
For example, if I were to tell you that a man was arrested for public intoxication, you probably would just assume some guy got a little wasted at a bar. If, way down in the story, it mentioned he was arrested outside his daughter's sweet sixteen party after he got dressed up as a baby and drank a fifth of tequila out of a baby's bottle while crying, "Baby want mommy to wipe his widdle bottom," you might think to yourself, "Someone buried the lead."
On Wednesday, such a release happened across my e-mail inbox.
Houston police are awaiting autopsy results in the death of a woman on a passenger plane at 3700 North Terminal Road about 6 a.m. today (Jan. 2).
The victim, 25, was pronounced dead shortly after landing. Her identity and cause of death are pending notification to family members and autopsy results from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Sounds like someone made it to Houston and suffered a terrible illness or accident and wound up dead. It's terrible. It even sounds like, given the address, perhaps it was a private plane. Well, read on...
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About eight hours into a commercial flight from São Paulo, Brazil, to Dallas/Forth Worth, the woman went into medical distress. Members of the flight crew, aided by a physican who happened to be on board, began performing emergency medical procedures as the plane was diverted to Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Shortly after landing, the woman was pronounced dead.
There are no apparent signs of trauma nor any indication of foul play.
Let's start over. A woman flying from Brazil to Dallas went into medical distress that was so severe, the plane had to land in Houston at 3700 North Terminal Road, better known as George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
That is SLIGHTLY different from a woman dying after getting off a plane at some unknown address. Certainly, police and other officials didn't want to cause a ruckus at an airport, but I'm not sure how saying a woman became sick and died on a plane is necessarily going to cause people to fly into a panic, but what do I know.
No word on what happened or the cause of her death, but at least we now know the official address of the airport.