Washington Post reporter Hank Stuever discusses some do's and don't's of narrative journalism, including the two words that stop him reading on:
A lot of narrative stories have that hush of seriousness about them. That feels like capital “W” writing to me. They are honoring all the narrative or feature stories about serious or weighty or disturbing subject matter that came before, so therefore there’s going to be that mood. It’s too dramatic or liturgical.
Do you know about “they came”? Look out if the first two words of the story are “they came.” Usually you see it in vigils or people waiting for news about miners or plane crash victims. “They came” bearing objects. Who are they? We don’t know, because the writer has taken on that priestly seriousness. He’s just elevated his delivery in such a way that it’s getting in the way of what he wants to say. That, to me, is the first indication that I don’t want to read on.
I think it's fair to say that American journalists tend to take themselves and their work more seriously than British journalists (can you imagine forums like this one over here?). This is good and bad.