This is the season to watch out for emotive and sensational headlines

Pakistani police

Pakistani police at the gate to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 4, 2011. When US forces killed the terrorist, the ‘Philadelphia Daily News’ headlined the story on May 2, 2011 thus: ‘We Got the Bastard!’

Photo credit: AFP

What you need to know:

  • What interests us are headlines that are more emotive and sensational than informational.
  • Then there are others that are apparently intended to capture your emotions or influence what you think of the story.

Newspaper headlines are couched in as few words as possible, leaving the reader to expand on their import. They are also the first — and in some cases the only — thing one reads in a story. So it’s important to get them right, and to read them right, especially at this time when emotive and sensational headlines are likely to dominate media coverage of the political scene.

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