Saturday, September 03, 2005

This is a game, right?

Something like a copydesk equivalent of the Unseen Hand Club? You find a completely inappropriate way to put a question mark on a hed and you learn the secret handshake?

Today's gems:

The trial of Saddam coming in October?
Iraqi official says it'll be Oct. 19; Western diplomat doubts date

Let's try to make up our minds here, shall we? Is the story worth reporting or not? If we think there's some merit in the anonymous source's assertion, put it in the hed and let the "diplomat" knock it down in the deck. Or try it the other way around. Posed as a question, though, it looks like another random possibility the Observer plucked out of the air and deemed worthy of debate. Sort of like "Saddam's face found on pita in Dearborn?" Or even like this effort from the religion page:

A message from God -- or Earth?
As the lede of this rather lame tale points out, there is a potential third alternative:

What caused Hurricane Katrina to slam the U.S. Gulf Coast? Was it a late-summer tropical storm caused by wind, water and heat? Mother Nature crying out over the Earth's pain? An angry God?

I trust it's not out of line to suggest that a newspaper's default explanation should be the empirical one.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Adam said...

I find the cost of admittance to that club is just too high for me to pay. When I read question headlines, especially ones that aren't questions and just have a question mark, I'm reminded of the journalism classic Anchorman. I don't really comprehend those headlines anymore, I just think "I'm Ron Burgundy?"

5:11 PM, September 04, 2005  

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