Wednesday, April 11, 2012

USAT | What's missing in these two headlines?

Screenshots of two recent headlines for a story on USA Today's homepage:




18 comments:

  1. Attribution? Actually, double attribution since it was the Washington Post that is claiming this via an anonymous source.

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  2. USAT editors can't be bothered with accuracy.
    Remember, SCJ said it best: "Better Done Than Good."

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  3. Drudge has single quotes:
    'PROSECUTOR TO CHARGE ZIMMERMAN'

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  4. "White hispanic Zimmerman..." ? We're never going to hit our mainstreaming numbers if people forget to point these things out.

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  5. Not a Journalist, just a Production flunkie... but shouldn't the heds say "2nd degree murder" or just plain ole "murder" somewhere?

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  6. These headlines appeared before Zimmerman was charged, and were based on reports by other media. For those reasons, they should have been attributed.

    Such as:

    Reports: Zimmerman to be charged in Trayvon Martin case.

    Otherwise, if the charges weren't announced, USAT would have looked foolish -- and very wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Oh please, Jim.

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  7. Oh, please, 10:31 p.m., yourself. Jim is exactly right.

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  8. In this fast and loose digital world, what Jim is pointing out is more important than ever. It should be attributed.

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  9. Why would anyone expect the kids or Teeuven to know anything about actual journalism? The entire crew is out of its league. Nothing but a bunch of perfuctories.

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  10. That's what happens when you hire, on the cheap, kids with barely any journalism background and put them in charge of the website. They've been told to get it up and get it up fast, so they are focused almost exclusively on speed as they work through way too many steps to get stories posted and "enhanced."

    They don't have time to learn the right way, and, anyway, there isn't anyone to teach them.

    They're good kids. So let's thank Jim for pointing it out, and let's hope they're more careful next time.

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  11. These are the people Buesse and Weiss and Teewuen are hiring.

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  12. 10:20, these lectures about how the veterans would have done everything right are getting tired. There are plenty of veterans who would have made the same mistake and then shrugged their shoulders when the mistake was pointed out.

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  13. Actually, at the time these screengrabs were taken, AP had confirmed it. If you had taken them a few minutes before, you would've seen "Reports" in the headline and Washington Post below it.

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  14. As I recall, the AP had confirmed it through a source it did not identify.

    USA Today did not know the identity of that source. Even if it had, the smarter headline would have been to attribute to a "report" or "reports" or a "source."

    Journalism 101 says if there's any doubt, however remote, source it. Details make the difference.

    As a general rule, I attribute in headlines on this blog. Example here.

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  15. Here's another example from my blog of attributing in the headline. In this case, I knew the source and was confident the information was correct. Still, I try to err on the side of caution.

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  16. 10:28 and 11:20, while at opposite perspectives, allude to the same point: the drive is to get "stuff" up on the Web, nothing else. Doesn't matter if it's done correctly, just do it! It's sickening, and I've seen that nauseous look cross both intern and veteran's faces.

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  17. The kiddie corps aim at catchy SEOs. They have little to no no actual editing, writing or reporting skills.

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Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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