People who are charged with creating the catchy titles for news stories have an interesting problem to resolve. They must convey, in very few words, the gist of the story while also generating enough interest in the reader for them to do more than just scan the text. I regularly read the BBC News website, http://www.bbc.com/news/, and have always found their writers outstanding in their ability in meeting these twin needs. In addition, their sentence structure is quite different than ours here in the US.
Today, January 31, 2014, the following headlines appeared:
- “Lapdancers cleared of kidnapping” – the whole concept of these performers ransoming off one of their audience members is almost too much to consider.
- “Soldiers smash eggy soldier record” – clearly the term, eggy, is something the British would understand.
- Chobham ‘mini-tornado lifted cats in air’” – I read this article just to see if they had photos. Would it be like the cow in the original “Wizard of Oz?”
- “Suspicious car warning to parents” – is this a story about a built-in device that tells parents the driver is a little off or maybe it’s about a Steven King novel?
- “ATM spree appeal renewed by police” – is this a new fundraising mechanism by the police?
- ‘Chewbacca’ attack hits cash tills’” – a “Star Wars” character takes it revenge?
- “Cow row in Olympic city” – in England, ‘row’ is pronounced like ‘cow’. It’s probably funnier if you didn’t know that.
- “Romania reverses Nymphomaniac ban” – (my favorite) I didn’t realize they’d been banned in the first place.
“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”
“No, grand-dad. That’s not the story I want. You know the one. The one with the leopard, the ships in the night, the monsters on holiday, the lykens and all those other creatures.”
The slightly balding man pulled his grand-daughter higher up on his lap and smiled. Holding her close, he said, “You must mean the one that occurred that spring of 2010.”
“Yes, yes, that one.” The red-haired girl settled herself in his lap staring into his brown eyes. “I like that one.”
He looked through the window to their left and remembered that wonderful period when he was a young man. The group had come together, almost by chance. The two leaders had announced an opportunity for exploring their minds, for challenging their abilities and for shaping their future. He had joined, not really knowing what benefits he would enjoy. Read more