The future of forbidden heds
First up, a double-dip on the Stupid Question: not just using the question mark as a hedge, but forming the question in a flagrantly ungrammatical way. Two rich dudes have declared their intent to bring a professional foopball team to town, which is fine and even newsworthy* -- but hardly raises the question of whether a franchise has been "scored." The headline's job is to tell me what happened, not what someone speculates might happen.
Regardless of the downtown back-scratching, that's not the kind of question the hed raises. You can form questions by sticking a question mark on the end of a statement, but that creates a distinctive form called an "echo question" that you might remember from "Apocalypse Now":
Lance: Hey, you know that last tab of acid I was saving? I dropped it.
Chef: You dropped acid? Far out!
That's a question, but it's very much not the same question as "Did you drop acid?" If you agree, avoid getting them mixed up in headlines ever again.
That's a "grammar" thing. "It's official" is just a cliche. You may remove it from any lede, or any subsequent graf, with no effect on the meaning. And that means you may never try to improve on a story by putting "it's official" in a hed. There are no exceptions -- no matter how important you think the story is, no matter how few times in your life you've seem "it's official." Just never.
What will hubbing do to the Great Cliches? I don't know, but if someone wants to stake that out as a research agenda, I'd really like to see the results. We've known for a while (I hope) that there's only so much mileage in being local. If the outsourced desk in Bangalore looks at a map while editing and you don't, they're going to catch a mistake you might miss. Will a centralized desk enforce chainwide rules against cliches in headlines, even if that's the suggestion from the originating paper? Or will a plague of "Christmas came early" break out of containment and spread all the faster?
I'd like to know, but I'd actually just rather have a local copydesk to complain about.
* Although it skates awfully close to Elongated Yellow Fruit territory when the perps are "the Michigan-bred businessmen" and "the Michigan State graduates" in the first two grafs