Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Routines and WTF heds

Quick, you non-Ohio readers, what does this hed mean? More specifically, is it a noun phrase:

Children's major player in tumor war (arrested after high-speed chase)

Children's major player in tumor war (is invisible 6-foot rabbit)

or a completely formed hed?

It's the latter, but a couple of routines -- one general to the craft, one specific to this area* -- make it almost incomprehensible to the non-clued-in. Here's the lede:

As they work to unravel the genetics behind 20 killer tumors, researchers across the country will receive many of the samples they need from Nationwide Children's Hospital.

In context, "Children's" isn't any less sensible than "Beaumont" or whatever you call your nearest** Houses of Healing. Where did the fire victims end up? "They're at Children's." But without a cue, you really can't read the hed without the story, and that's not good.

You can also pass the time playing Pin the Linking Verb on the Noun:

Children's major is player in tumor war
Children's major player in tumor is war

... but that's getting a little excessive.

* Though it probably obtains, at least a little, in other cities where there's an institution called Children's Hospital.
** Consider this the standard plea to help stamp out "local," as in "the victims were rushed to a local hospital."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think this head would have tripped me if I had known Children's was short for Children's Hospital. But I didn't know that, and I read it as a possessive and got all flummoxed.

10:21 PM, December 23, 2009  
Blogger fev said...

We have a Children's Hospital up here too, and I noticed a billboard for it tonight that I must have passed a dozen times in the past couple months: something like "When my patients need the best, I send them to Children's." I still double-clutched on the hed.

11:51 PM, December 23, 2009  

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