Victims of the scroll
Posted by aogFriday, 25 July 2003 at 18:08 TrackBack Ping URL

In the previous post I mentioned how the headline gave a very different impression than the actual story. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days (although actually faking bylines is still somewhat aberrant). The question is, do the headline writers assume that most people won’t read the actually story and so it’s not very important to write an appropriate headline?

I blame the scroll, personally. It trains people to view each news story as single, compressed sentence without context. You all thought it was just annoying but it’s actually insidious. I’m immune because I stopped watching news on TV years ago, before the scroll became ubiquitious and degraded. Back in my TV watching days, if you got a scroll it generally signaled “Twister’s acomin!” or “It’s hailing golfballs”. No context needed to be spelled out. We get real weather out here in the heartland, not your effete coastal breezes, so everyone knew what the scroll meant. Now the scroll apparently keeps people up to date on J. Lo’s meal progress - “J LO USES TWO FINGERS FOR POST LUNCH PURGE”. I admit, in that case either you know the context or you don’t want to know, but it still encourages bad habits.

What can you do? If you can’t bear to just give up on TV news, then turn to the fiber of technological civilization, duct tape, and just tape over the scroll area. You’ll be better for it.