Monday, January 16, 2012

Only in Minnesota

If you're not from around these parts, this headline from today's Star Tribune must be pretty much inexplicable:

Star Tribune front page with headline WHITE BEAR COUPLE AMONG MISSING IN SHIP DISASTER
People around here sometimes forget that our habit of shortening the city name "White Bear Lake" to "White Bear" can have unfortunately comic effect at the most serious times.

Star Tribune smaller headline, White Bear couple dreamed of retirement travel
The inside headline, which was set in upper and lowercase type, allows the reader to see the initial caps on "White Bear." This gives some hint that White Bear is a proper name, a bit of information missing from the front page headline's all-caps setting. But it's still pretty dismal because it's very easy to start reading the words as if they're describing a missing white bear, then have the rug pulled out from under you when you get to the second line.

The web-based story uses the whole name, White Bear Lake.

Sometimes the shortest possible headline does a disservice to the subject.


Les said...

Or else two large, bearded gay men.

Daughter Number Three said...

Clearly, the number of alternate readings is larger than I had thought.