Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nothing so exhilarating

That certainly seems like a clear hed, doesn't it? Until you get to the lede, that is. Does it introduce a shade of doubt? Perhaps it should*:

A 911 call reporting the three men came from the EconoLodge on the south side of 14 Mile** near I-75 and Oakland Mall just after 3 a.m.

The Madison Heights sergeant who first responded narrowly escaped being struck by gunfire when a man with guns in both hands shot at him numerous times, Police Lt. Robert Anderson said.

I'd say that's pretty good news -- but it certainly isn't the news reported in the headline, which says he was shot. That's a rather substantial difference, you think? Hed writers would do well to learn it. Prepositions are small, but they aren't trivial.

* The two grafs reproduced here are from the print edn, which often differs from the online version.

** Trivia time: Do any of you Jon Stewart fans recall the "R. Kelly impersonator" who sang love songs about Kwame Kilpatrick's romantic assignations at the Residence Inn? It's across the street from this one.

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