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Dianna McMenamin: Her ‘worst nightmare’ is headline that overplays a sports story

To the editor:

I knew a student had died at UMass over the weekend, so when I saw Monday morning’s huge above-the-fold headline proclaiming, “UMass’ worst nightmare,” I assumed that the story would be about the tragic death of the UMass sophomore.

Instead, the story was about the loss of a football game. Really? A football loss is the worst thing that could happen to the entire University?

Even in the sports section, that headline would be absurd hyperbole, so I kept reading, thinking that perhaps the student had died during the course of the game.

No, it was just a football game. Then I thought that perhaps somehow it had escaped the newspaper’s notice that a human being had died at the university. How else could the “worst nightmare” be the loss of a game?

But no, the death of Evan Jones was covered on the front of Section B. Evidently a student’s death doesn’t much trouble anyone’s dreams.

Dianna McMenamin

South Hadley

Related

Patricia Riggs: A call for perspective in Gazette headlines

Monday, September 9, 2013

To the editor: “UMass’ worst nightmare” — the headline on a Gazette news analysis Monday — is not the loss of a football game, but rather the death of a student. The death of sophomore Evan Jones is a more somber and newsworthy event for the front page of our local paper than the loss of a football game. I …

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