Heading in the wrong direction

The Bug’s Media Glass House considers the headline above – Knives were out for Shandee target – on page 3 of the nation’s broadshit Weekend Oz to be in extremely bad taste.

We think you Buggers out there might agree when we explain the background.

The heading was for a promo for Shandee’s Story, a “true-crime” pay-to-view podcast by arguably Australia’s greatest ever journalist Hedley Thomas into the stabbing murder of 23-year-old Shandee Blackburn in Mackay back in 2013.

Further down P3, it’s explained that one of the suspects in Shandee’s murder was an alleged knife-carrying drug user and police searching his house found a knife block but no knives. He is the person referred to in the story heading.

So can you see what the sub has done there? In probably what seemed like a very clever idea at the time, the sub has played on the fact that the suspect’s knife block was empty! So if we assume there were knives in there once, now they are out! Knives out!

But we think there’s a greater, overriding factor that should have rung alarm bells in this sub’s overworked head. That’s right. Shandee was knifed to death!

But when you’re determine to give good heading bordering on the too-clever-by-half that refers to facts disclosed elsewhere, does it matter if you go down a path that could easily have retraumatises Shandee’s family? That, with her photo right there, can easily be read as Shandee being the target? And that such a word play therefore makes light of how she died?

The heading is a classic example that shows the ship containing News Corpse’s unbiased reporting has not only long since sailed, but has drifted way off course courtesy of an increasingly haywire moral compass.

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From newspaper headings that are too smart by half we turn to headings that are just a wee bit over the top.

No one doubts that entertainment industry icon Bert (thanks, Barry!) “I like the boy!” Newton was a pretty good bloke. But the nation’s golden son? The one golden son? Really?

As the MGH overheard one grizzled old hack in the Evening Star Hotel in Surry Hills last night splutter over his schooner of Reschs: “Fuck me roan! It almost makes you want to delve into Bert’s life to see whether he played up on Patti like a two-bob watch, had horrendous halitosis or pulled wings off butterflies as a child.”