Rockville Trembles, AP Vamps

The Associated Press—The Wire Service That Zigs™—gets fancy with the news that an earthquake shook the D.C. metro area this morning:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Washington residents are used to politicians being its movers and shakers. On Friday, however, it was the earth below that shook.

Having delivered a dumb cliche in wobbly grammar, the former news organization waits till the third paragraph to mention how strong the earthquake was—”Californians might scoff at the 3.6-magnitude quake”—and holds out to the fourth paragraph before telling exactly when and where it happened (Rockville, MD; 5:04 a.m.).

Here’s a rewrite, for readers who want to know what actually happened, without any politicians or imaginary Californians in the way: 

An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6 shook the Washington area Friday morning, rattling windows and waking residents. 

The quake struck at 5:04 a.m. and was centered near Rockville, MD. Though minor, it was the strongest quake the U.S. Geological Survey had measured in the immediate D.C. area in 36 years of keeping records there.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.