Don’t use headlines to create alternative universes

Don’t use headlines to create alternative universes: For all I know, this article found at the Columbia Journalism Review’s website could be objective and fact-filled. However, I couldn’t get beyond the headline, “How evangelical Christians are creating an alternative universe of faith-based news.”

I find the use of the term Alternative universe outrageous in a headline about this topic.

Of course, I’d be just as outraged if I saw above an article about a hispanic-American-focused news operation, the headline, “How hispanic Americans are creating an alternative universe of hispanic-based news” or, “How black Americans are creating an alternative universe of African American-based news” or, “How liberal Americans are creating an alternative universe of left-leaning-based news”

Apparently, the headline writer has a lock on some wisdom of what universe is correct for us: All others are “alternative.”

I enjoy living in one common universe that can be interpreted from alternative points of view.

I’ll leave it to science fiction writers, rather than editors/reporters, to determine what is, and is not, an alternative universe.

4 thoughts on “Don’t use headlines to create alternative universes

  1. Thank you for pointing this out, Rex. I can’t imagine a better example of why pretentious institutions such as Columbia University are part of the problem in media. This is the group that calls itself “America’s Premier Media Montior.” Sorry guys, you are no such thing.

  2. I think this whole article is one of those written in code. Since the majority of Americans are Christians, at least nominally, he’s at a loss to explain what’s going on. I think what he’d like to say is “Christians who wear their religion on their sleeves” or “7-day-a-week Christians” or “The not-just-Sunday-morning Christians.” Of course all that would be MUCH more objectionable than what he actually says, which, as you point out, is bad enough. Why is it so hard to say, Some Christians like to get together and talk about the news, how it affects them, and how they believe their religion weighs in on that? Frankly I don’t like the use of “Christians” in the article, as if we’re all the same. He does toss “evangelicals” around a few times…heck, they’re not all the same either. I give up.

  3. “Others, like Janet Folger, host of the radio and TV call-in show Faith2Action, described Schiavo as actually sitting up and talking.”

    Sounds like an alternative universe to me…but then I also think the CJR and J-school in general are pretty silly. More and more, I find myself hating both sides in these arguments.

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