Monday, December 14, 2015

Just say no

Refreshing as it is to see international news -- regional elections in a non-English-speaking country, at that -- atop the front page, no. Write heds in English for English-language papers unless you have a strong reason to do otherwise, and you don't.

The less pertinent argument is that a large part of your audience doesn't speak French, and among those who do, there's no guarantee they'll get the right reading the first time. The real point is that if you think you need a dumb language stereotype -- "sacre bleu!" to show you're writing about France, or even "eh?" to remind your readers that Canada means Canada -- to draw the audience into your headline, ur doin it wrong. And given the literalism of the robot brain, you could also conclude that "French say non" is a far awfuller SEO hed than "French far right loses."

Want to show me you're a citizen of the world? Fine. Run more stories about other parts of it, even when they aren't having coups or earthquakes. Dare to put other people's provincial elections in the paper. But please do us the favor of assuming that we can tell a Russian election from an Ohio election without a "nyet" in the hedski.



Anonymous John Meyer said...

Bus plunge de jour!

2:16 PM, December 19, 2015  

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