Sunday, August 16, 2009

Interceptions and errors

Interceptions: I found this today online -- Quinn played better than Anderson, but they each threw an interception... The Browns' quarterbacks didn't throw interceptions; they were intercepted. It's not like they did it on purpose.

Also found online: The following year Vick gained more ground yardage than any quarterback in league history,... This would read better as The following year Vick set a single-season rushing record for quarterbacks,...

Uncle Walter: You might read the New York Times piece on fact-checking and mistakes. How Did This Happen? talks about a story on Walter Cronkite that had a correction to fix seven errors. Every newspaper makes mistakes, but it's embarrassing to have this many errors when you're writing about one of the most respected newsmen of the 20th century.

Comments: I received two comments so far from my Saturday blog on headlines.

From 2KoP: "I think headline writing is incredibly difficult. It's hard to be clever without being glib, to draw readers in without turning them off or making them groan."

From Rob Crompton: "Not a headline, but one of my favourite bits of playful wording: years back, during the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland an Irish MP and her husband were attacked in their home by armed intruders and suffered minor gunshot wounds. From the "Guardian's" report: 'Mrs McAliskey was shot in the leg and her husband was shot in the kitchen.' "

Full steam ahead: I once worked for a sports editor who had worked at a Dallas newspaper that no longer exists. The sports desk there had a headline competition in which copy editors tried to show each up. They'd write convoluted but clever headlines, and my boss loved them. I like to show off, as any headline writer would, but I prefer the simple approach.

More later.

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