The headline of the week and some memorable newspaper gaffes | Media First

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The headline of the week and some memorable newspaper gaffes

Fears of a looming trade war might seem like an unusual starting point for an amusing headline.

Equally, you may not necessarily associate a free business newspaper with the type of attention grabbing headlines more often produced by the tabloids.

So you have to hand it to the sub-editors at City AM who this week produced the best headline we have seen for some time.

‘Hit the Chevy with a levy, tax your whiskey & rye’ is how it titled a story about possible European Union retaliatory measures following Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium products.

This classic headline not only ensured I spent much of the week humming Don Mclean’s American Pie, but it also won the paper a lot of social media love.



Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out quite so well for the humble sub-editor. Sometimes headlines and layouts gather a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons.

From choosing the wrong word, to missing hugely important hyphens, unfortunate juxtapositions and bizarre cases of mistaken identity, here are some memorable newspaper gaffes.


‘Amphibious pitcher makes debut’

The East Oregonian got itself in a right old muddle when it reported on the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s new pitcher being able to throw with both arms.

This is apparently a rare ability in the sport, but the newspaper may have over hyped his skill with the suggestion that he could also throw underwater.



Bizarrely, the correct word – ambidextrous – had been used at the beginning of the second paragraph.

The 2015 gaffe was circulated widely on social media, compounding the newspaper’s misery.


‘Students get first hand job experience’

A grammatical error turned a seemingly innocent headline into a sexually explicit blunder which went viral.

The Kansas based Pratt Tribune was reporting on local students looking for future job opportunities on Disability Mentoring Day when it received a harsh lesson on the importance of hyphenation.



The publication later changed its online headline to the much safer ‘Students get job-site training during Disability Mentoring Day’.



Just before Christmas the Cambridge News made the embarrassing error of publishing instructions to sub-editors, rather than producing an actual headline.




While suggested headlines from social media users included ‘austerity ate our headline’, the story was meant to be titled ‘£2m for ‘sex lair’ school’.

Editor-in-chief David Bartlett said it was unclear how the error happened but blamed it on ‘a technical problem’.


The time Harold Bishop was about to become manager of Manchester United

An Australian regional newspaper raised a laugh when it managed to confuse Harold Bishop from Neighbours with Louis van Gaal, who was about to be appointed Manchester United manager.

The now defunct MX, which at the time boasted a readership of 663,000, used a picture of actor Ian Smith to illustrate an article about the Holland manager being the favourite to take over at Old Trafford.



Let’s face it, it was an easy mistake to make as both men boasted huge managerial experience – just in Harold’s case it was limited to running a fictional coffee shop.


When Winnie-the-Pooh went rogue

Newspaper story placement errors have tripped up many a sub-editor.

One of the most amusing came when Canadian newspaper the Brampton Guardian ran the front page headline ‘violent crime duo caught on camera’ alongside a picture of blow-up figures of Winnie-the-Pooh and the Abominable Snowman.



We just hope Pooh was able to get an apology.


Newspaper gets that ‘sinking feeling’

A similar lay-out issue saw the Belfast Telegraph run a large picture of the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia below a promotional plug which said ‘WIN A DREAM HOLIDAY’.

Not to be outdone, the Belfast Guardian carried the same picture with a headline below which read ‘Give Queen a new royal yacht for the jubilee’.



The errors were picked up by social media users and went viral. The Belfast Telegraph later said the front page gaffe had left it with ‘that sinking feeling’.




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