Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stupid heds? Aisle 4B

The biggest little daily in Collegetown is obsessed with writing active heds, often to the detriment of good sense:

Deer hunter suffers accidental discharge

No he didn't. There's an aisle in the pharmacy for those products. What this guy suffered was a gunshot wound to the abdomen, inflicted when a fellow hunter's gun went off accidentally, and that's the why-is-this-in-the-paper that the hed writer apparently couldn't find.

It's hard not to write a better hed -- at least, a more informative one -- if you use the passive voice:

Hunter wounded as deer season opens
St. Louis hunter accidentally wounded

You non-journalists out there might wonder why the pros do hed writing so badly. Or why the story is so turgid and poorly organized: We have to wait for the last graf to find out how serious the injury is, though the third graf reminds us that deputies "responded," and someone apparently thinks "an accidental discharge occurred" is the official way of saying the rifle went off accidentally. Hey, this stuff takes training!


Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

that headline made me think he'd shot himself, too.

6:41 AM, November 19, 2009  

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