March 24, 2008 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
Newspaper headlines can be a source of great amusement. They’re probably tough to write, as they have to squash an entire summary into a dozen words. Sometimes they don’t quite work, as a Chicago Tribune story indicates:
5 Tossed Out Of South Loop Restaurant, 1 Hits Cop
The mental image that springs to my mind is of a cop strolling back to the station house – whistling, for no reason I can think of – when he passes a South Loop restaurant. Suddenly, the door slams open and five bodies sail out! The poor cop can’t dodge quickly enough, so one of the bodies smacks into him. ‘Ow!’ he cries.
As you guessed, this is not actually what happened. (The fact that the URL for the story includes the phrase ‘police.officer.punched’ is closer to the mark.)
Even when you are restricted to very few words, precision is important.
That would probably be a fun writing exercise: find a headline and write the story it SHOULD be about.