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The decline of BBC News online

(November 2018)

This site closed in March 2021 and is now a read-only archive
BR
Brekkie
The dates seemed up to date when I read it - looked like they might have just updated the 3000 ventilators version.
EM
Emily Moore
The 'curse' of the BBC News Online headline 'quotes' strikes again:

*

Weird headline on this story. As with many of these types of incidents before, the 'scum' is a quote from someone involved (in this case, a government minister criticising the riots). I assume that it has been translated from Dutch, rather than being a direct quote, which makes it even odder to have a headline describing the events as 'scum riots'.

I have no opinion on the story itself one way or the other, just wondering whether it's an appropriate word to use in a headline without any real clarification. They need to get away from this 'style' of 'headline' writing. Something like "Dutch minister describes rioters as 'scum' as curfew remains" (but not that - you can see why I'm not a sub!) feels like it'd be more appropriate.
AndrewPSSP, jonO and Ghost gave kudos
NT
Night Thoughts
The 'curse' of the BBC News Online headline 'quotes' strikes again:

*

Weird headline on this story. As with many of these types of incidents before, the 'scum' is a quote from someone involved (in this case, a government minister criticising the riots). I assume that it has been translated from Dutch, rather than being a direct quote, which makes it even odder to have a headline describing the events as 'scum riots'.

I have no opinion on the story itself one way or the other, just wondering whether it's an appropriate word to use in a headline without any real clarification. They need to get away from this 'style' of 'headline' writing. Something like "Dutch minister describes rioters as 'scum' as curfew remains" (but not that - you can see why I'm not a sub!) feels like it'd be more appropriate.


It reads as if people are rioting because their baths are dirty. Very odd, the word's just not needed.
EM
Emily Moore
Why do they still write their headlines in this style? It made sense years ago, when they were writing to the Ceefax character limit, but that's long gone. I recall a few years ago an incident where they referred to a man from China in a headline as "China man" just to save a few characters.
Night Thoughts and DE88 gave kudos
HC
Hatton Cross
Presumably some perfect curve-esque idiot once gave a presentation that said that people reading text headlines on the phones or mobile devices only want to read the headline for two seconds before making the choice to read further.

Hence everything needs to be scan read, short and snappy.

It's the same way radio news copy is. I once moaned at the news editor of a local ILR about the lazy use of 'they' instead of 'police officers are looking for/searching for'. The response? If it saves 2 seconds and the rest of the sentence qualifies the use of the 'they' then that's alright.
EM
Emily Moore
It's the same way radio news copy is. I once moaned at the news editor of a local ILR about the lazy use of 'they' instead of 'police officers are looking for/searching for'. The response? If it saves 2 seconds and the rest of the sentence qualifies the use of the 'they' then that's alright.


To be fair, I used to write radio news copy in a previous life, and I would often edit the "blue light brigade" press releases to within an inch of their lives. It gets on my nerves when I hear an unedited press release full of jargon ("by the time three appliances arrived from Trumpton, the building was well alight" or "officers attended at the property and detained two males") being read out on air.

This was on a radio station where we had a strict 90 seconds to get several stories across, so I did tend towards the less-is-more approach. I also lived by the rule of thumb that my busy listener was cutting hair or fixing cars or driving and wasn't sitting with a notepad waiting to take down full details ("police are looking for a white male in his mid 40s who made off in the direction of High Street", etc etc) so I'd often post the full info on the website and direct people there if they were really interested.
RO
roo
Why do they still write their headlines in this style? It made sense years ago, when they were writing to the Ceefax character limit, but that's long gone. I recall a few years ago an incident where they referred to a man from China in a headline as "China man" just to save a few characters.


Not to defend this particular headline, but the legacy of the Ceefax limit still exists. Stories still need to have a short headline, which is used in indexes, syndication etc. Considering this turned up in the long headline, though, I think it's just sloppiness over brevity.
CL
clh
roo posted:
Why do they still write their headlines in this style? It made sense years ago, when they were writing to the Ceefax character limit, but that's long gone. I recall a few years ago an incident where they referred to a man from China in a headline as "China man" just to save a few characters.


Not to defend this particular headline, but the legacy of the Ceefax limit still exists. Stories still need to have a short headline, which is used in indexes, syndication etc. Considering this turned up in the long headline, though, I think it's just sloppiness over brevity.


Do the first four paragraphs of a new article still make up the red button story too?
RO
roo
clh posted:
roo posted:
Why do they still write their headlines in this style? It made sense years ago, when they were writing to the Ceefax character limit, but that's long gone. I recall a few years ago an incident where they referred to a man from China in a headline as "China man" just to save a few characters.


Not to defend this particular headline, but the legacy of the Ceefax limit still exists. Stories still need to have a short headline, which is used in indexes, syndication etc. Considering this turned up in the long headline, though, I think it's just sloppiness over brevity.


Do the first four paragraphs of a new article still make up the red button story too?

Not too sure tbh but it’s still editorial best practice to make the first four paras tell the basic story.

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