Good, Bad, and Ugly

Reader reaction to Reuters news

The last scupper?


Volcanic ash cloud may scupper Polish funeral plan

CYPRUS-ELECTION/The title reads “Volcanic ash cloud may scupper Polish funeral plan” and I am wondering if this should not be “Volcanic ash cloud may scuttle Polish funeral plan” instead.

Russian Jack

No, scupper was the right word, but for the wrong audience.

In British English it means to prevent from happening or succeeding. It doesn’t mean that to most speakers of American English, and thus should be avoided, especially in headlines: GBU Editor

Turkish Cypriot leader and presidential candidate Mehmet Ali Talat (C) and his wife Oya Talat (R) pose with a girl during an election rally in Nicosia, in the Turkish-administered northern part of Cyprus, April 16, 2010. Turkish Cypriots vote in an election on Sunday that diplomats fear could scupper chances of a peace deal on the ethnically-split island and further hamper Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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Whose statue?


Senegal’s “renaissance woman” faces cover-up

SENEGAL-MONUMENT/DAKAR (Reuters) – The skimpily-dressed female figure in Senegal’s giant monument to the “African Renaissance” faces a possible cover-up after the architect on Monday said he had proposed a remodeling to cover up her bare legs.

The giant group of man, woman and infant perched on a hill overlooking the capital Dakar is bigger than New York’s Statue of Liberty and is due to be inaugurated in April.

Turning the tables


Pakistan tables long-awaited constitutional reforms PAKISTAN-BHUTTO/

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The Pakistani government introduced a constitutional bill in parliament Friday to transfer President Asif Ali Zardari’s sweeping powers to the prime minister, possibly ending months of political wrangling.

The set of reforms, known as the “18th Amendment Bill,” is expected to be passed by the two-chambered parliament, effectively turning Zardari into a titular head of state.



EU exec to put Greek plan to finmins, Germany doubtful

EUROFIN/What on earth is a “finmin?”

James T.

It’s a bit of headline shorthand for finance ministers, but it doesn’t travel well, especially in places that don’t have finance ministers.

We should avoid using it in headlines unless we absolutely must. This instance was especially confusing, because we didn’t spell out the phrase until the third paragraph: GBU Editor

Gibe vs. Jibe


Vonn hurt by Mancuso jibe over popularity

OLYMPICS-ALPINE SKIING/SUPERG-Does anyone there have a journalism degree or maybe English?

Jibe = sailing term. Gibe = mocking term.

How does this make a worldwide article headline?


In British English, jibe is the correct spelling for the word Americans know as gibe: GBU Editor

Bronze medalist Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. is wrapped in her national flag as she adjusts her skis on the podium during the victory ceremony for the women’s Alpine Skiing Super-G race at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 20, 2010. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

His name is Toyoda


After stoic showing in Congress, Toyoda breaks into tears

TOYOTAIt’s Toyota, not “Toyoda”.¬† My God, man, who’s writing these headlines? Andy Capp?


Considering how long this has been in the news, a surprising number of readers still think our references to Toyoda are typos. Some of them get quite abusive about it: GBU Editor

Nazis and Dresden…


German protesters stop neo-Nazi march in Dresden

GERMANY-NEONAZIS/DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) – At least 10,000 Germans formed a human chain in Dresden on Saturday and stopped neo-Nazis staging a funeral march to remember victims of the Allied air raid that flattened the city 65 years ago.

About 5,000 neo-Nazis, clad in black, had gathered at Dresden’s Neustadt station — where Nazis once packed trains with Jews bound for the Auschwitz concentration camp — hoping to stage Germany’s biggest far-right march since 1945.

Unseasonably cold?


Unseasonable cold to hit next week

WEATHER-USA/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Unseasonably cold weather should settle over key heating fuel consuming regions of the United States next week in the wake of heavy snow expected this weekend, weather forecasters predicted Thursday.

It’s WINTER. Cold can be “extreme”, “historic”, “-er than usual”, or just plain “very”, but the one thing it absolutely IS is SEASONABLE.

Playing his what?


For New Orleans, victory is about more than football

BRITAIN HARRODS“I wouldn’t trade these memories for all the doubloons in Mardi Gras,” said Robert Peri, who said he spent Sunday night on the balcony of his French Quarter hotel, playing “When the Saints Come Marching In” on his coronet.

In the story about New Orleans’ reaction to the Saints’ Super Bowl win, you mention¬†that a man played his “coronet” during the game.

Hyping the blizzard?



Blizzard paralyzes U.S. mid-Atlantic; two killed

I just wanted to pass on my annoyance at your misleading headline this morning about the storm that hit the mid-Atlantic. The way your headline is written makes it sound as if two people froze to death, were buried/stranded under some type of hazardous snow drift, or saw their car slide on frozen roads into a bunch of others, etc.

I understand the news-grabbing impact that media outlets want to make, but as what I consider to be one of the most trusted and respected global wires in the world, you might want to put a little more thought into how you’re trying to draw in readers and/or convey the drama of a newsworthy situation.