Reply To: Vehicles, not predators, pose greatest threat to little monsters at Halloween

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Ron

Jennie and Sandy: Sorry for the delay in replying, but to answer your questions, first let me say that headline writers for newspapers often are constrained by space and have to find a way to put the essence of the story into just a few characters, thus limiting what can be said. That’s not necessarily the case on the Internet, where space is not an issue. But the idea of a headline is to lure the reader into reading more than a sentence or two of the article. Studies have shown the attention span of readers is generally 8-10 seconds and if you don’t grab them in those few seconds of the headline and a paragraph or two they are on to something else. So the more sensational, the more graphic the headline the more likely it is readers will hang around. Headlines also set up in the mind of the reader what it is they expect to get out of the article. So when you use the term ‘predators’ you are certainly getting people interested in reading the article but as other posters have said, not everyone on the registry is an actual predator so you are also misleading the readers. The easiest solution would have been to put quotation marks around ‘predators’ because that signifies you are calling the usage of that term into question. As the step-father of an autistic adult child on the registry because of his autism I occasionally call into question his probation officer and the deputy in charge of the registry for using that term ‘predator’ in reference to him because in our state it is part of a legal classification and he is not in that classification. In essence, words and how you use them matter, especially when it comes to this issue.