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A peek into a newsroom debate

So we had a bit of a debate yesterday about the headline that I put on this blog item, "Injured soldiers caught in the crossfire." The item is about the Friday night dinners at Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse in downtown Washington, D.C. that will likely lose their home because the Hilton Hotel chain, where the restaurant is located, decided to revoke its lease. Apparently, as of April 28, these dinners will have to find a new home.

As you may have noticed, we have been using blog items in print each week. Our very able copy desk questioned whether the headline was insensitive… and rightly so. That is really their job – to not only make sure things look right and are written correctly, but they are a reality check – does this make sense.

On these questions, I'm not the best judge because I am not easily offended. So we had a debate. As I often do in these cases, I ran it by several folks who I trust. FCW's executive assistant is retired from the Air Force and she is often a good bellwether for those kinds of issues. Our senior Defense Department reporter Bob Brewin, a former Marine, also acts as a good mirror. They both gave me a thumb up.

Yet across the newsroom, it was fairly divided.

One person even argued that while the headline was fine for a blog, he questioned if it was it OK for print? It is an interesting question.

I'll let you see the result when you get your May 1 issue.

But I'll give you a hint. My general thinking was that it is close to being over the line, but I obviously was comfortable with it given that I wrote it. I think it is very accurate of the situation.

The general argument was that if why take the chance of offending these warfighters. Haven't they really been through enough? And wasn't 'crossfire' really over the top?

But I still think it is evocative and very accurate.

I'm curious if you have thoughts on the subject.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Apr 28, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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