Errors and Omissions: They do things differently in Headlineland

The Independent's letters editor and chief pedant spots this week's best howlers

Share

“Mentally ill man allowed to donate fortune to Mormons,” yelled a headline on a news page on Thursday, reporting on a case in the Court of Protection. The story soon put things in proportion: “The man wants to donate almost £7,000 of an inheritance to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

This is the 21st century. Inflation has taken a terrible toll. The rich and silly can easily spend £7,000 on a meal with drinks in a restaurant. It must be 500 years since £7,000 amounted to a fortune – that is to say, a lump sum that would produce an income on which one could live, obviating the need to work.

But then again, this is Headlineland. Here, every actor is a “star”, every painting a “masterpiece”, every goose a swan – and every substantial sum of money a “fortune”.

-----------------------

On Thursday, we carried a picture of two young women in a punt in Cambridge. The one poling the punt was wearing a mask against the air pollution. The caption: “A punt operator in Cambridge yesterday. The air quality in East Anglia is forecast to remain ‘very high’ until tomorrow.”

No, it’s the pollution that is forecast to remain very high: the air quality will, presumably, remain very low. And the woman in the mask is not a “punt operator”; she is just a woman poling a punt. The only punt operator I know of in Cambridge is Scudamore’s boatyard, where you go to hire a punt (if you are not a member of a college that operates its own punts).

-----------------------

A perennial caption problem popped up on Wednesday. The caption on a fashion picture said: “A model presents a creation for summer 2015 by Alexandre Herchcovitch at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Brazil.”

Of course she’s a model; she doesn’t look much like a plumber to me. The point is that this is not a picture of her at all: it is a picture of the clothes she is wearing, and the words “A model presents” are redundant. That will be obvious to followers of fashion.

The rest of us may find it difficult to see this as anything other than a picture of an elegant young woman. People who have to write captions for fashion pictures need to think of the clothes as a car. When you see a publicity shot of a bloke at the wheel of a Lamborghini, you don’t think of it as a picture of the male model; it’s a picture of the car.

-----------------------

A leading article on Tuesday asked: “How can it possibly be fair for those without a university degree to stump up for the income-boosting education of those who do?” This starts as one sentence and ends as another. You need either “… those who do not have a university degree … those who do” or “… those without a university degree … those with one”.

-----------------------

A news story on Monday reported that houses are selling for near the asking price “as buyers chase a scarce supply of property”. No, the properties are scarce: the supply is low, or poor.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week