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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The headline should really have been... um...

Getting the Irish Times via RSS as I do, I occasionally suffer some slight bemusement when I see a headline without context (I've sort-of mentioned this phenomenon previously). The headline on this particular occasion — Over 51,000 illegal drugs seized — caused confusion for slightly different reasons; I just assumed (but wasn't entirely sure) that it was a bad headline.

"Pah!" quoth I to no one in particular. "Fifty thousand drugs? Surely not. They must mean €50 000 worth of drugs, or perhaps fifty thousand, er..."

Okay, that's why they did it. There was no pithy way (that sprung to my mind) of saying "tablets or other similar items". The nearest I could manage was "units of illegal drugs", and that could generously be described as "inelegant" in the context of a headline.

So the sub ed failed in his job, and gave us a crappy headline.

Except he didn't.