opinion | Reader’s review The Post: The art of an appropriate headline

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Each week, The Post publishes a collection of letters of complaint from readers – pointing out grammatical errors, lack of reporting and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and occasionally praise us. Here we present this week’s Free for All letters.

Given my affinity for Paul Simon’s music in general and his song “The Boxer” in particular, I was delighted when I saw the April 11 front page headline: “In Kyiv stands an ex-boxer and a mayor of his profession. I had to smile as I slightly remembered the last verse of Simon’s song “The Boxer”: “In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade.”

The headline and the reference to Simon recognized Vitali Klitschko’s courage and leadership. A poignant and clever headline made this old man’s day.

Donald Humbertson, wooden bridge

A cute Simon & Garfunkel-inspired headline highlighted a horrific war in Ukraine. Please save playful headlines for more appropriate stories.

Susan Declercq Brown, jumping field

The source of Russian literature

As Timothy Snyder wrote in his April 10 Outlook essay, “By denying a Ukrainian culture, Putin flattens his own,” that “all Russian literature, it is said, came from Gogol—and Gogol came from Ukraine ‘ he wrote in pro-Ukrainian propaganda that seriously undermines his credibility as an authority on Russian culture.

In fact, the general view of Russians throughout the ages has been that “all Russian literature came from Pushkin.” Serious scholars of Russia might add that Alexander Pushkin built on the efforts of Nikolai Karamzin.

Walter C Uhler, Philadelphia

The April 7 Metro article, “Gubernatorial Hope Moore Wants Investigation After Dossier Questions Life Story,” reported on gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore’s complaint to prosecutors about allegedly false anonymous campaign footage and reported that his campaign “claimed, without direct evidence, that another campaign was behind the dossier and accused it of criminal activity” and “the competing campaign denied the allegation”. The article declined to identify this “rival campaign.”

With a few clicks of the keyboard, the complaint itself and other reports identifying the John King campaign as the alleged culprit were quickly found.

It is absolutely newsworthy that a particular campaign is formally accused by another campaign of committing a crime, regardless of whether the accusation provides “direct evidence”. Who was the Post protecting by omitting this important public information? King is not a minor, and The Post would not risk libel by identifying the King campaign. This was a very odd decision that readers deserved.

Laurence E Gold, Washington

Consider green thermal fuels

It was good to read the April 9 Real Estate Department article on heating fuels and helping consumers choose the right fuel for their needs: “When Choosing a Heating System for Your Home, Consider Your Fuel Sources,” but in today’s Time should this not be the case. Is there any reference to the carbon intensity of the fuels or any mention of renewable energy?

One of the heating solutions that the author was impressed with was coal stoves. Okay, that might still be appropriate for some households, but shouldn’t environmental impacts also be mentioned? The author said his next home will also have a backup wood stove, which is one of the cheapest ways for most Americans to use a renewable fuel to reduce fossil fuel use, but it’s not ideal in urban areas. Most of us in the DC space give no further thought to installing and using our gas ovens. But we should start thinking about the future.

John Ackerley, Takoma Park

The author is President of the Alliance for Green Heat.

We are not the object of their wrath

Perfectly good but unfortunately neglected words: “me”, “us”, “her”, “him”, “they”.

Poor object pronouns! So many writers and speakers of English seem to regard them as inferior and refuse to use them. Consider this example in the April 10 sports article, “Haskins Death at 24 Causes Shock and Sadness”: “NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted with a picture of him and Haskins together as children.” From him? For real? What happened to him?” The word “he” makes an excellent subject, as in this sentence from the same article: “’Hard to understand,’ he added.” But the excellent words “I,” “us,” “She,” “him,” and “they” are ready, willing, and able to step in when necessary, and they’re needed after prepositions like “to,” “of,” for, etc. and verbs Remember English class when you learned that pronouns have two versions: one as a subject and one as an object?Here are two examples: She gave him a picture of you They gave her a picture of him.

I’m saddened by the death of someone who is only 24 years old, so I was drawn to the article about Dwayne Haskins. However, my sadness turned to disappointment when I saw the good and proper objective pronoun ‘him’ being overlooked and dismissed in an article in one of the world’s best newspapers.

Jane McKeel, If church

Everyone stands up for Judge-elect Jackson

I was impressed by Ratt’s April 9th ​​cartoon. I have enjoyed political cartoons (especially when I agree with their opinions) for their creativity in capturing current political or other events in a drawing, often with little or no words. Ratt’s poignant cartoon, headlined “All Rise!”, was not only creative but also emotionally moving as it chronicled the rise (albeit a very slow rise) of black women from cotton picking to the Supreme Court seat.

I will save the cartoon to show to my youngest grandchildren when they are old enough to understand the importance of judge-elect Ketanji Brown Jackson’s outstanding and unique performance.

Isabelle Schoenfeld, bethesda

Ground rules are long overdue

The April 3 editorial, “A Covert Attack on Charter Schools,” called the Biden administration’s proposed regulations an attack. Indeed, the proposed continuation of charter funding at the historic high of $440 million and best practice regulations provide a path that is a gift to charters.

According to the regulations, applications for incorporation are given priority if they have “community school” elements or cooperation with local school districts. A community impact analysis requires an explanation of why the school would be beneficial in serving that community. For example, demonstrating that a teaching approach is not otherwise available would help an application receive credit. In DC, where the DC Council and Mayor have resisted capping the number of charter schools and the school system doesn’t really function as a system, Biden’s proposals are urgently needed to ensure the impact of each school on the larger community of schools considered. The charter industry is notorious for being unwilling to accept common sense guidelines that would strengthen the system as a whole and for defying regulations. The administrative changes are modest and long-overdue ground rules for an industry fraught with scandal, profiteering, and a negative impact on the larger community of neighborhood public schools.

The author is a board member of EmpowerEd, an organization that elevates the voice of DC teachers in DC public and charter schools.

Highlight more local groups

Chris Moody’s April 10 Washington Post Magazine article, “Seeding Change,” was good and appreciated. However, I feel an opportunity has been missed by not highlighting local groups like Earth Sangha in Springfield. It is a non-governmental organization with acres of native plants for sale and teams working with local businesses and governments to engage local people in landscape projects.

jeff jordan, If church

“Finally Understanding Yoko Ono,” an April 9 Free for All letter about Sebastian Smee’s critic’s notebook on Yoko Ono’s art was revealing, as was Smee’s March 26 critic’s notebook: “It was Yoko Ono all along Message.” But at nearly 2,000 words, Smee’s article was far from succinct, as the letter comically described it.

Michael S Goldstein, Washington

Culpepper’s words did not beguile

As I began reading Chuck Culpepper’s April 9th ​​sports column, “Senior Scheffler Masters the Wind and Takes a Five-Stroke Lead,” I realized I had to access my online dictionary to understand parts of the article . In the first two paragraphs alone, Culpepper used the words “orgiastic,” “boffo,” and “beguile”—in an article about golf. I was confused so I looked up the words.

I took the liberty of rewriting some of Culpepper’s sentences.

1. “It’s the most hectic event in golf” instead of “It’s the most orgiastic event in golf.”

2. “He started this week at 15th in the world, a ranking that doesn’t faze the planet” rather than “He started this week at 15th in the world, a Boffo ranking that doesn’t faze the planet.”

3. “He’s the guy who won a playoff at the Phoenix Drunken Fest” instead of “He’s the guy who won a playoff at the Phoenix Bacchanalian.”

Jan Biennas, Williamsburg, Va.

The April 12 Metro article “Youngkin amends Loudoun school bill” described Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R)’s successful campaign work as “baiting out about mask requirements, critical race theory and other controversies.” Later, citizens of Loudoun County were reported to have “insulted school officials” for mishandling assault cases.

The reader is left to speculate that a less derogatory characterization would have been used had the deranged Youngkin or the local Loudoun dolts taken the policies or positions favored by the Post’s reporters and editors.

Timothy Starker, arlington

The winner of the very first ‘Toony’

If there was an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy or Tony for the comics, I would nominate Jef Mallett for his April 4th “Frazz” comic.

They took a life, but they didn’t take his pride.

A strange status update

The April 9 front-page headline “For Biden, progress but not perfection in the race” was ridiculous. Every day the same headline could appear with a different topic. Does The Post claim that there is perfection in race and President Biden isn’t there?

Virginia Q Anthony, Chevy pursuit

Reinforcement of the wrong voices

Regarding the April 9 front-page article “In the lesson on sexuality, the right sees ‘care’”:

If the Post’s editors had had even a moment of self-reflection, they would have captioned the article, “Washington Post Offers Platform to Bigots Who Defame the LGBTQ Community.”

Reinforcing transparent and ugly smear campaigns is not the domain of journalism.


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