We, in the newspaper business try to get it right. But despite out best intentions, sometimes glaring black and white headlines cause red-faced editors.
Headlines are the selling point to attract attention to compel readers to continue to read the story. But sometimes, in their zeal to be witty, to be concise, and to sell the story, headline writers make major league boo-boos.
So, let’s take a column to poke fun at newspaper misteaks…I mean, mistakes.
An Arizona newspaper told us “Man Accused of Killing Lawyer Receives A New Attorney.”
The story in a Los Angels newspaper was about a program to pay for bus tickets for transients, but the headline said “Mayor To Homeless: Go Home”.
A southern newspaper’s headline was “Missippi’s Literacy Program Shows Improvement”. Too bad it didn’t extend to the newspaper.
But sometimes we overstate the obvious. For Example: “Homicide Victims Rarely Talk To Police” or “Utah Poison Control Center Reminds Everyone Not To Take Poison” or “Most Earthquake Damage Is Caused By Shaking” or “Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons” or “Dead Body Found In Cemetery” or “Car Skids On Ice”.
Sometimes we have to wonder what they were thinking with when they wrote: “Statistics Show Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25” or “City Unsure Why Sewer Smells” or “Bugs Flying Around With Wings Are Flying Bugs”.
Sometimes it may appear we step over the line. Take, for example, “Chick Accuses Some of Her Male Colleagues Of Sexism.” It was a story of City Councilwoman Laura Chick telling her male council colleagues that “city hall is the most sexist, good-old-boys work environment that I’ve ever been in.”
Then there were these head scratchers: “17 Remain Dead In Morgue Shooting Spree”, “SWAT Team Ends 6 Hour Standoff With Empty Apartment”, and “4 Amish Arrested On Alcohol Charges After Buggy Hits Cop Car” and “Firefighters Rescue Duck From Lake.”
We offer without comment the headline: “Man Orders Penis Enlarger Online; Gets Magnifying Glass”
But perhaps the most wittiest and creative headline goes to the story of a drunken moose struck by bus: “Moose On Juice Runs Loose & Hits Bus In Belarus.”
Oh, and I found all of these on the internet so we know they all have to be true, don’t we?