Wednesday, August 16, 2006

short on facts

Major newspapers have been taking drastic measures to attract younger readers. The Washington Post is one of the big city papers distributing a free, smaller version called Express. The articles are shorter, without being continued on another page. The paper itself is tabloid size, which is easier to read on the Metro than a broadsheet. All the distribution boxes I saw were outside Metrorail stations. In some places the papers are referred to as "commuter dailies." I picked up a copy of Express yesterday while my daughter and I were sightseeing in D.C.

I've always liked tabloid size papers. As a kid, I liked reading the New York Daily News. As an adult, I would vacation in the Hamptons and drive into town each morning to get a copy of the New York Post before they sold out.

One of the things I liked best about Express is the way the headlines are written. A story about a couple in England who won $18,000 by answering trivia questions on quiz machines in hundreds of pubs was headlined "If Ken Jennings Were an Alcoholic." A story about Boy George's community service also had a photo of him wearing a reflective vest and was headlined "Does Orange Go With My Eyeliner?" Yesterday's story about Kate Hudson's separation from Chris Robinson was headlined "Cute Actress Finally Dumps Scruffy Rocker." I wonder what they wrote today about the rumors of her romance with Owen Wilson.

Yesterday's Express contained one short article which had a headline that bothered me. The headline read "Ordained Woman Leads Roman Catholic Service." I think it would be more accurate to say "Woman Leads Religious Service." I recall seeing a TV news report that took a similar angle. What makes the stories titillating is the idea that some women have been ordained as Roman Catholic priests and that they celebrated Mass. Of course that is untrue. The Roman Catholic Church does not sanction the ordination of women. Apparently the Los Angeles Times made the same mistake. Some papers ran longer versions of the article which did a better job of explaining the Church's position. By going through with their ceremony, the women are in effect forming their own Christian denomination and leaving the Roman Catholic Church. That's not really newsworthy though, is it?
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Blogger Heather said...

That is news worthy. ESpecially if they consider themselves ordained. News is different for different people. What's news worthy about Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson.

Blogger bean said...

...but it certainly continues to be embarrassing that the catholic church discriminates against women in this regard.

Anonymous Pam Mc said...

I like the tabloid size papers better too. They're easier to navigate and hold on to.


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