Help! I Can’t Come Up With a Good Head

By Jack Limpert

When an editor reads a story and can’t come up with a headline that says something clear and direct, you then say to yourself, “What the hell—let the reader figure it out.”

The head on Paul Farhi’s story in this morning’s Washington Post asks: Jill Abramson: Casualty of an enduring bias?

Not clear?

The story then asks:

“Was Jill Abramson, the now-former executive editor of the Times, a victim of a double standard? Did Abramson lose her job because she was some of the things—tough, imperious, aloof—that men in management are allowed to be, and often rewarded for, but for which women are punished? Was Abramson taken down for, among other things, having the gall to seek compensation equal to her male predecessors?”

You can’t blame the editor for writing a “God only knows” kind of question head.

Actually, it’s a  pretty good story that explores those why-was-she-fired issues. But Farhi and his editor also are telling the reader: You’re on your own, pal. Good luck figuring out the answers.

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