Express & Star

Toby Neal on politics: London is a capital cut off from the reality of UK life

"Fog in Channel – Continent cut off."

Headlines can suit any agenda

It allegedly once appeared in The Times, one of a number of headlines which have passed into legend.

There's a myth that, when the Titanic sank, the Aberdeen Press & Journal looked for the local angle – which we in the regional press always like to find – and ran a headline which read: "North-east man dies at sea."

And doubts have been raised about Claud Cockburn's claim that he won an in-house prize on The Times for the dullest headline with "Small Earthquake In Chile. Not many dead."

I can however attest to the authenticity of "Now Is The Time To Get Dug In" used with a gardening feature... on an obituaries page.

So far as I know there is no branch of research with involves the study of headlines, but in a few words they can tell you a lot, not just with the words themselves, but in revealing where people are "coming from," as we say nowadays.

This week's announcement of the opening of a new oil field off Shetland was not reported as "Jobs Joy At Oil Field Go-Ahead," (unless the Shetland paper took that angle), but instead "Climate Change Disaster Fears As Government Triggers End-Is-Nigh Catastrophe." Or something like that.