Last week, The Wall Street newspaper broke the news of the careless emails from Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to the owner of the Washington soccer team. In one of those emails, Gruden ridiculed the black executive director of the NFL Players Association by saying he had “lips as big as Michelin tires. “
Gruden coached his team on Sunday when they lost to the Chicago Bears. Meanwhile, more of his nasty emails came to light and the inevitability of his firing or resignation became a reality.
Jon Gruden resigned on Monday.
It wasn’t front page news in Des Moines, Raleigh, or even Miami. But it was in the big city papers.
The indignation of the title was illuminating. Some newspaper headlines featured the Sargent-Joe-Friday-all-we-want-are-the-facts-ma’am version while others have editorialized.
Strictly made titles
The Houston Chronicle– “Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach over offensive emails“
The Wall Street newspaper– “Jon Gruden out as the Raiders coach after the email scandal“
The San Francisco Chronicle– “Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach over offensive emails“
The Boston Globe– ” Jon Gruden resigns as coach of the Raiders after reporting sending more offensive emails“
William Randolph Hearst is credited with developing sensational journalism, a strategy for selling newspapers. His newspapers had “sprawling banner headlines and hyperbolic stories, many based on speculation and half-truths.“
Sprawling banner titles
The Los Angeles Times– “Jon Gruden out as Raiders coach for racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails “
The Washington Post– “Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach after also using homophobic and misogynistic language in emails“
The Chicago Tribune– “Jon Gruden resigns as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after a report describes frequent misogynistic and homophobic language in emails“
The New York Times– “The Raiders coach resigns after homophobic and misogynistic emails“
Readers who open the story with a title closely related to the facts have the opportunity to be open-minded and not prematurely judge Jon Gruden. On the other hand, those who read the stories with sprawling banner titles start the pieces believing they are simply learning more about a racist, homophobic, and misogynist.
how did he do? The New York Times titled the 2016 stories of Hillary Clinton’s emails in which an FBI investigation ended “she and her aides were “extremely negligent” in handling confidential information? “
In these cases, the titles don’t look like Hearstian.
“Lynch discusses Clinton’s emails“
“Why are Clinton’s emails important?“
“Hillary Clinton’s latest batch of emails released“
What about the Los Angeles Times headlines? Not even Hearstian.
“Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Part 1“
“Hillary Clinton Email Investigation Part 2“
“The FBI recommends not being prosecuted in the Hillary Clinton email case“
If reporters want their stories to be more factual and have fewer opinions, they should avoid the sprawling banner headlines and aim for the strictly factual ones.
America and the Americans would be better off for this.
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