You might want to make that headline a little clearer

BBC News has this headline posted on their webpage:

FBI tries to fight zombie hordes

Intriguing headline and definitely something I want to know more about.

It turns out “zombie” is a slang term for a home computer that’s been hijacked by hackers via online connections. It’s actually an interesting story but it could never live up to the expectations generated by the headline.

I saw a picture of a sign that said “PARK POLICE SNOWMOBILES HERE ONLY”. It is so ambiguous that counting the possible meanings is a challenge. There are at least 8, because there are 4 different words that “ONLY” might be modifying, and “PARK” could refer to what you do to a vehicle or to a public place. But then there are possible pairings of words, for example maybe “ONLY” modifies the phrase “PARK POLICE” or the phrase “POLICE SNOWMOBILES”. These make 11 (not 12 because the “PARK” in “PARK POLICE” can’t be the verb version). It just goes on and on.

As you can see, this kinda took the shine off of mildly vague headlines for me.

Sort of like a sign I saw at NASA’s Ames Research Center - a bit less vague, but still silly:

Government Buggies Only

The whole place is nothing but government! How could there be any other kind of buggy there?

As for the zombies, I got the advance notice of that effort on Tuesday, describing it as a non-crisis event. :confused: Something called Operation Bot Roast. Mmmm… tasty!

I just figure editors should stick to the most common use of a word in a headline. If I was publishing an article about George Bush getting his annual flu vaccination, I wouldn’t headline it “The President’s Been Shot”.

Clever headlines are a staple of good journalism! Journalists as a rule don’t really get to be all that creative in their jobs, at least give them a little break on the headlines. :stuck_out_tongue:

You mean the FBI isn’t fighting zombie hordes? Lazy buggers, just sitting around like that…

Yeah, especially when LiveJournal had a zombie invasion the other day…

The editors write the headlines, I believe, not the journalists, no?

Anyway, they certainly purposely go out of their way to make headlines strange and interesting: attention grabbers and all that.

Certainly not: you drop any unnecessary words from headlines. You would say “President shot”.

I believe editors would call themselves journalists.

They might also call themselves sub-editors.

Actually the headline that would most accurately convey both meanings would be:

President Gets Shot