Thursday, May 05, 2005

Why question heds are tools of Satan

A stain on an underpass wall,
or an image of Virgin Mary?
Freeway underpass wall in Chicago draws crowd of believers, onlookers

News flash, y'all. It's a stain.


Anonymous Adam said...

Question? As one who has committed the sin of the ? hed more times than I’d like to admit, is there a time when they can work? A problem I’ve often talked about with one of my slots is when they are in a yes or no form. The reader tends to assume the answer to the hed question is always yes.

5:07 PM, May 05, 2005  
Blogger fev said...

Hey, Adam: Your slot has a good point (tho I don't know of any hard evidence about what readers assume on that matter). I take a slightly different approach: Raising a question legitimizes the question. A hed like MAYOR IN PAY OF SPACE NAZIS? doesn't just report an assertion, it makes clear we think it's a question worth raising.

I'm OK with question heds on stories that are about questions: "Boxers or briefs: Which is better for a night on the town?" But most news stories -- mayors on the take, holy apparitions on foodstuffs and the like -- are about assertions, and assertions need declarative heds.

9:53 PM, May 05, 2005  

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