Thursday, June 03, 2010

Strange Headlines, Part One

Having spent a fair number of years coming up with headlines, subheads ("decks," if you prefer), pull-quotes (call-out quotes), photo captions, and the like, I get that it's not always an easy task. Indeed, it's a pretty precise skill, one that, like any skill, requires practice and patience.

Evidently those commodities are sometimes in short supply.

Here's an item from The Daily Beast's Morning Scoop Cheat Sheet one day last week:

Wait. What? "Homicide Student"? You mean this guy was, like, majoring in homicide? In which case, wouldn't murder be, I dunno, his final project or something? What next--"French major accused of speaking foreign language"?

The Cheat Sheet's little blurb contains no useful information, other than that the accused is a grad student, meaning he must have taken a lot of Homicide over the years. A regular fixture in his college's Homicide department. Bit of a Homicide geek, truth to tell. Probably going to become a Homicide professor himself. You know, those who can't do...oh. Wait. That's wrong. Forget that part.

One must click through to the Telegraph's report to get the full scoop:

Ah--the accused is a PhD student whose focus of study, apparently, has been Jack the Ripper. Okay, that makes some sense--evidently he was doing his practicum--and I suppose it's fair enough to call him a "homicide student." It's a grabber headline, and I get that. But The Daily Beast would have been well advised to do a tiny bit of explication in their subsequent blurb.

On the other hand, it was pretty intriguing for a few minutes there. I was all set to go back to school.

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