walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Headlines on Repurposed Press Releases

The University of Montreal recently put out a press release:

http://www.nouvelles.umontreal.ca/udem-news/news/20110718-genetic-research-confirms-that-non-africans-are-part-neanderthal.html

Its headline was:

"Genetic research confirms that non-Africans are part Neanderthal"

Discovery News picked up this press release, slapped a byline and photo on it ("Analysis by Jennifer Viegas") and modified the headline in an aggressive manner:

http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics-neanderthal-110718.html

"All Non-Africans Part Neanderthal, Genetics Confirm"

This headline made me suspicious, leading to this post.

Science Daily picked up the article, refrained from putting anyone's name on it, and modified the headline as well:

"Non-Africans Are Part Neanderthal, Genetic Research Shows"

If you are interested in the actual research, you can get 1 day access to the underlying journal article for $32.

http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/7/1957.full

I understand that a lot of what is out there is written by people with some degree of interest in what is being described, issued to the press, which then adapts it to its own purposes. This is more of the same; I just wish the press outlets hadn't felt compelled to destroy the original headline. It was a _good_ headline. The Discovery News headline comes under the heading "not shown" and is _really_ aggressive. The Science Daily and the Discovery News headlines share a really obnoxious structure.
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