“Farmer Bill Dies In House” or the Art of Collecting Badly-written Headlines

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I found this book of flawed headlines on a visit to New York.  It was among a group of “books for sale” spread out on the sidewalk.

This one is a treasure.  It’s brought me much laughter over the years.  It was put together by the Columbia Journalism Review in 1980.  It was two dollars, well spent.

Some are puns.  Some are typos.  Others connect for more mysterious reasons.

Then too, there’s the satisfaction of seeing a whopper or an extreme mistake appear in print.  Many of these were even on the front page of the paper.  People are often inept and prone to executing blunders.

Some headlines are strange due to context.  They’re not all humorous.  Some are just puzzling.  I’ve collected a few myself.

A Detroit paper had a banner headline which read NO HOPE LEFT.  This was in the context of John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s 1999 plane crash.  Still, some readers could take that headline the wrong way.

Then there’s BUSH REMINDS KIDS OF DEATH AND DRUGS.

Then too, there are the wacky headlines in the tabloids, but that’s a whole other story.

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They’re still at it:

http://www.cjr.org/the_lower_case/

http://www.cjr.org/the_lower_case/the_lower_case_novdec2011.php

http://www.cjr.org/the_lower_case/the_lower_case_mayjune2012.php

http://www.alta.asn.au/events/altss_w2003_proc/altss/courses/somers/headlines.htm

http://crimewriters.blogspot.com/2013/11/headline-bloopers.html

The book, Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim, and Other Flubs from the Nation’s Press:

http://www.alta.asn.au/events/altss_w2003_proc/altss/courses/somers/headlines.htm

http://crimewriters.blogspot.com/2013/11/headline-bloopers.html

Some nice collections:

http://mediarelations.blogs.com/index/funny-headlines/

http://list25.com/25-unintentionally-funny-newspaper-headlines/

From the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/magazine/31FOB-onlanguage-t.html?_r=0

Jay Leno was famous for digging out headlines too.  I never really watched his show at all though. :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headlines_(Jay_Leno)

patRichard M. Nixon’s wife was named Pat, of course.

fbi

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