Don’t you know who I am? I’m Bernard Kouchner!

March 16, 2011

Most editors will tell you that names make news, and there is no doubt that they are correct. They mean that we should not write stories that lack some color, some personality and hopefully some personalities. Don’t confuse that with the more dubious proposition that names are news.

Warren Buffett? Bill Gates? Aung San Suu Kyi? Stick them in the headline, by all means. People generally know, even if they can’t spell “Aung San Suu Kyi” or “Buffett” (Buffet, as many write…)

But what do you make of this headline?

“Kouchner says too late to help Libya”

If I weren’t already on the hunt for such meaningless headlines, I would never have read this story. As it turns out, he is the former French foreign minister, which to me makes him a formerly somewhat important person, so I guess the story is somewhat important. Somewhat. But you wouldn’t know who Kouchner is or why what he says matters.

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