Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke Arrested?

The standing rule is to avoid using names in headlines unless they're very, very recognizable as "famous people." Today's Charlotte Sun Web page headline, Clarke arrested, crack and cash confiscated, puts local readers immediately in mind of a prominent local business owner with a small fleet of trucks bearing his name, at least three teachers, and 30 other of our neighbors. Everyone of them is about to enjoy a major embarrassment because a Sun Web editor skipped class during headline writing week.

To make matters worse, the story reports the bad guy is Emmanuel Tyrone Clarke in the first graf, but the second graf says someone name Taylor was booked on the charges.

No editors were awakened or disturbed in the production of this Web page or the next one...
...Did you know computer memories keep photographic images? The headline doesn't tell a story, but stops to ask readers a question. Interrogating readers is not the headline's job.

The story lacks a full complement of Five W's. Give us a "when!" as in when did this incident take place? Enquiring readers want to know.

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