Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Relevance Lacking in Headline

This story ran in Tuesday's Star Tribune:


It reads like a follow-up story: I assume the Strib had an earlier story saying someone had died in a fire, and this story is was written to give more details after the medical examiner made a statement on the victim's identity.

What I question is the headline. Is it relevant that the dead woman was homeless? If she hadn't been homeless, what would the headline have said about her?

Mentioning that she was homeless in the headline might make sense if it had something to do with the manner of her death (she froze to death outside, for instance). But in this case, it's irrelevant, at least in the headline. Possibly it could be included in the story, since it's common practice to give a general idea where a person lived. But even if she was homeless, she still lived in Minneapolis, so I'm not sure the reader needs to know this fact about her.

It's almost as if the headline and story are giving the reader permission not to care that Rhonda Lee Santos is dead.

1 comment:

Craig Enos said...

That is exactly the implication. Not to mention the story begs the question of why she was in the building if she was homeless. Actually she is being blamed for the fire. Convenient. I lived there and have many unanswered questions.