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"Rocket falls on Beersheba," What? Like Rain?

By Batya Medad
2/25/2011, 12:00 AM
Rosh Chodesh Adar II is approaching, and G-d willing, it will bring us blessings from G-d.  Women are invited for special prayers at Tel Shiloh:
Women's Prayers at Tel Shiloh
Rosh Chodesh Adar II
Sunday, March 6, 2011
9:30am
Dvar Torah, Short Torah Lesson
Please come and invite family, friends and neighbors
תפילת נשים
ראש חודש אדר ב' בתל שילה
יום א' 6-3
9:30
יהיה דבר תורה קצר
נא לבוא, לפרסם ולהזמין חברות, משפחה ושכנות

 

G-d willing, it will be beautiful, since the wild flowers have begun to bloom.

I blog much more frequently on Shiloh Musings and me-ander; please visit. And today, here I'm posting about the importance of good titles and headlines.

"Rocket falls on Beersheba," What? Like Rain?

I hate these sorts of titles and headlines.  The Jerusalem Post's article on the Arab attack on Beersheva made things worse by adding "Following Katyusha fire in Negev..."

Do these things happen all by themselves, like spontaneous combustion?  Nu?  Who launched these weapons at Israel?  I stress the who, because people, not chance, not G-d are guilty of attacking Israel and its civilians.

But as much as I dislike the headline, at least it's big news in the Jerusalem Post.  I just checked the New York Times which at this moment, hours after the Arab attack on the main city of Israel's south, there isn't a mention.  Surprisingly, BBC has a better title to their article than the Jerusalem Post:

Gaza militants fire rockets at Beersheba, Israel
Of course I disagree with their use of the word "militants," but at least they rightly put the blame on the Gazans. That's much better than ynet:
Grad rocket hits Beersheba Gaza terror reaches Negev capital for first time since Operation Cast Lead. Grad rocket explodes in Beersheba house yard...
No people seem to be involved in their version of the attack. It reads like one of those science fiction stories in which computers take control. Arutz 7 got it right with:
Terrorists Fire Two Rockets at Be'er Sheva; IDF Retaliates
And lastly, at least for me, will be Haaretz's top story at this moment:
Grad rockets fired at Be'er Sheva for first time since Gaza war
One missile hit building in residential area, causing damage; no casualties reported; Palestinians report Israeli air strike retaliation, wounding two Islamic Jihad militants.

Grammatically, at least, someone/something is blamed for firing the rockets, though we're not specifically told who or what.

An important headline should never be written in passive, because as news it must indicate an active subject.

A good news title must be clear, and the first sentence should summarize the story giving a Who, What, When and Where. Too many news titles leave out the "Who," because they don't want to connect the Arabs, Gazans, or what they call "Palestinians" with terrorism and violence.