Friday, September 25, 2009

My headline ear

I wonder: I apologize in advance for using the NY Times yet again for an editing lesson. In this case, I'm not even sure it's wrong; I just wonder about it.

The headline says After a Disappointing First Season, Girardi Adjusts. To my ear, that sounds like the Yankees are having a bad season but are adjusting. Actually, they struggled in 2008. This year, they have the best record in baseball. The problem is Adjusts. It just doesn't seem to fit.

It might be better to change Girardi Adjusts to Girardi Adjusted or Girardi Has Adjusted. The problem with that is that headline writers avoid past tense if possible. Or you might take another tack altogether: Girardi Has Learned From Difficult First Season.

Jobs site:
I just found something called eWriters. It has freelance online writing jobs, so it might be worth checking out.

Ooops: I messed up a headline while working at the local newspaper last night; I work there one night a week on a freelance basis. I put the wrong high-school nickname in the headline, and I'm going to worry about it forever. I still remember my errors from 1979.

Another thought: Newspapers generally prefer to say played host rather than hosted. As in, the Bears played host to the Dolphins. Me? I think hosted is fine.

Contact: Email me at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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