Free-Floating Hostility

Friday, May 06, 2005

Note our Refusal to Employ Gratuitous Exclamation Points

Most health journalism arises from an intrepid journalist turning the early results of a clinical trial into a story saying that scientists are close to curing something gruesome. It's actually not a bad system, because it allows people to grill their doctors and the more questions asked, the better for patients. The major side-effect of this sort of writing seems to be silly headlines on Yahoo news. Take this gem, which reassures the public that clutch hitting is a real baseball phenomenon. Or this one where we learn that more than 1/3 of policemen in the Philippines are fat. This one's my favorite:

Study: Meanness in Girls Can Start at 3

It's especially difficult to take these stories seriously because we actually know someone who writes headlines at Yahoo news. She's an old friend of mine from the college paper. We had dinner with her last year and Anna lost her temper at her, which she never does with strangers, over a discussion of Jayson Blair. I read Yahoo news every day, but this girl's insistence that headlining wire copy and ordering stories on the home page qualifies her as a journalist, is delusional--cool, but delusional.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Jeff'y at May 07, 2005 7:38 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Who writes headlines for Yahoo!? (The exclamation point is technically part of Yahoo!'s brand name, and there might be some sort of pro-exclamation point mandate for headline writers working there.)

  •   Posted by Blogger BrooklynDodger at May 07, 2005 7:49 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • BrooklynDodger hopes the underlying scholarly paper on meanness conceded the importance of following the mean 3 year olds [actually, those some multiple of dispersion above the mean on some kind of newly constructed meanness scale]into their teen and adult years to determine whether there was a meaningful correlation of later behavior with early being mean.

    "Other research at BYU has shown that physically and relationally aggressive children are more likely to have parents who discipline with psychological control and manipulation, withdrawing love, avoiding eye contact and laying guilt trips on the kids."

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