Letter: Upset by Mean-Spirited Headline

To the Editor:

Way worse than typos and poor spelling that other letter-writers have complained about recently was your story placement and headline on the Nov. 29 front page — “Prison Next for Lyme Swindler.” Really bad! Putting that story in the lead position and giving it the biggest type headline you’ve used in a couple of months were pretty lame — the story should have appeared on A2 or B1 under “Local and Regional” — but the mean-spirited choice of words used to characterize a widely loved friend for the sake of sensation has upset many people.

Look what else ran in the top-right position shortly before. There were stories about Dartmouth’s new president, the fiscal cliff negotiations, Vermont Law School cutbacks, Egypt’s crisis, fighting in Gaza and the death of former Sen. Warren Rudman. All were big stories, and they deserved the 54-point type size headlines.

Also, compare Nov. 10’s lead: “Petraeus Quits CIA Over Affair.” That was a huge story and newsworthy, but the headline and story were respectful and only named the general; you didn’t characterize him as a lecher, a womanizer or a swinger in the headline. One wonders, “Why not?” There were much bigger stories to feature above the fold that Thursday, and changing your online version didn’t ameliorate the damage and hurt done by the printed copy.

Michael Whitman