I grew a little warm the other day about journalists’ propensity to put the adverb of time in the most awkward place in a sentence, between the subject and the verb.
Now a reader has asked a perfectly reasonable question: “[I]s it so important that "Wednesday" appear in the first sentence?” My answer is that no, it doesn’t have to.
One can imagine a perfectly acceptable opening sentence along these lines: A federal judge has ruled that California’s Proposition 8, prohibiting gay marriage, is unconstitutional. It could be followed by another perfectly acceptable sentence beginning thus: In a ruling yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker. …Or Judge Vaughn Walker wrote in a ruling yesterday . …
I have rewritten scores of leads to accomplish the very result described above, and no reader has ever complained. (Neither have any of the writers.)
But putting the day of the event in the first sentence, preferably between the subject and verb, is a point on which generations of journalism instructors and assigning editors have malformed malleable young minds.
This is apparently a strong point of doctrine, and defying it openly could lead to one of those disputes like the fourth-century controversy over whether Jesus could be described as homoousios or homoiousios. All the same, if you can get away with it, write for the reader, and write in English, not journalese.