Behind The Scenes
18Jan/130

The pun predicament (Pizza Hut edition)

There few things editors and other headline writers love more than puns and alliteration. Anything that will grab a readers' attention. That said, it's pretty easy to go too far ....

Consider the controversy late last year when the New York Post ran a photo of a man who had been pushed into the path of an oncoming subway train. (See the front page, here.) The headline read: "Doomed," with a headline of "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die." Certainly eye-catching; definitely controversial.

Much less serious, but in the same vein, a headline in the January 18 Brattleboro Reformer, about the local Pizza hut going out of business this past week. The headline: "Another one bites the crust."

As one reader posted on Facebook, "Kind of a terrible pun to attach to the loss of 15 jobs. Just saying...."

While creative, it's probably not the most sensitive way to present the fact that 15 local people just lost their jobs. Especially when you consider the fact just days earlier we ran a story about the local Food Co-op laying off 11 (seasonal) workers, and played it fairly straight. When you juxtapose the two, something doesn't quite add up.

In the newsroom, it's in our nature to make things more eye-catching. But I take great care (and pride) in not pushing too far toward sensationalizing the news. So I'm grateful to the readers who took the time to offer feedback.

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