Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Write Question Heds?

Questions in headlines say more about the editor than the story. For example, a McClatchy News Service item on a Charlotte Sun business page this morning asks, "Is high unemployment the 'new normal?'

There's no question in story: Two economists (three in the uncut version, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke) and a dozen explanatory examples make a substantial case that unemployment is unlikely dip much below 6.5 percent or 7 percent for several years to come.

So, the answer is "Probably, Yes." But a Sun-Herald copy editor, the J-school grad who's supposed take pride in the arcane skill of extracting the news for readers who may read or skip the story, would rather ask a stoopid question. Doesn't that say more about the editor and than the news?

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