Headliners

Newspaper headlines are important, because they are all that some people remember about an article and they set the tone for the reader before they read the first sentence.

So, the headline in yesterday's Bermuda Sun is both incorrect and irresponsible.

Is the "Average family home now $1.8m"? No. The article explicitly says so.

The "Average price of a home sold this year is $1.8M". Big difference. That's the average of transactions. To know what the average market value of a home is you'd have to do some sort of an appraisal on every property.

I know headlines are designed to grab a reader, the more sensational the better in a lot of cases, but this a) sets some sellers expectations to high, and b) further alienates those trying to get into an expensive market.

It's much like the headline recently where the Gazette said: "UBP is doomed to lose next election" - in quotes - from an interview with a former UBP party worker. First problem, he never said that. Those were the reporter's words, not Mr. Sullivan's. Since when does a paper quote its own reporters?

The other example was the Gazette's headline which read "Expert: Island is still a 'white supremacist society'".

What he said was:


"Is Bermuda a white-supremacist society? That's obviously a more complex question in a country with a black majority and a black-led government, the distribution of wealth remains racialised, however. And the attitudes of at least some white Bermudians reflect a commitment to white supremacy.

"As an outsider, I don't think my job is to answer that question but to raise questions that can help Bermudians understand their own society."

Mr. Jensen came close to saying what the headline said, but he didn't (although that is the sole reason he was hired...to get that headline.)

Headlines are important, perhaps more so, than the content of the article oftentimes. Many people don't pick up the nuances, they just take a superficial skim of the paper and take away little more than the headline and the first paragraph.

The papers (and this is more a fault of the editorial staff than the reporters who don't have much input into headlines) have a responsibility to be more accurate.

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