GUSWORLD
Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 23/07/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

The headlines that time forgot

Gusworld has been accused by more than one reader of being sick and tasteless. We don't deny the charge, but we would protest that it is a matter of degree. In particular, we would point out that the kind of content that routinely appears in Australian newspapers is every bit as tasteless and far more widely distributed.

The reporting of the TWA tragedy last Friday by the Daily Telegraph serves as an excellent case in point. Its initial headline to cover the story was simple, direct and gratutious:

'IT BLEW UP'

Note the use of the pseudo-quotes, to suggest that someone said this, when actually they didn't. (Well, someone probably said it, but did they mean it? Were they in fact talking about a balloon?)

One crass headline in a day wasn't enough for the Tele, though. When their second edition came out, they'd come up with an even more tasteless alternative:

LITTLE PIECES

One doubts that this referred to the headline writer's brain, somehow.

It's likely that things will get worse before they get better (assuming they ever do). Multiple editions are becoming the norm. In this period of vomit-inducing Olympics mania, even the Sydney Morning Herald is bringing out an afternoon edition. What will happen when these papers have a real Internet presence (rather than the classifieds sections they run at the moment), with stories updated hourly or even more often? What new headline horrors will be inflicted on us then?


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