Sun-Times Apologizes For Punny Headline On Asiana Airlines Crash

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 8, 2013 6:30PM

Chicago Sun-Times publisher and Editor-in-chief Jim Kirk issued an apology for their front page headline on the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco over the weekend.

The headline, "Fright 214," can be seen as an unfortunate attempt at a punny headline. The Asian American Journalists Association, however, called out the Bright One on their attempt at being clever and added the headline also served as another example of "Engrish" in the media. AAJA was offended both by the headline and what they considered to be racist undertones, considering two-thirds of the passengers were Asian.

Kirk responded to AAJA's criticism. “There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. … If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry," Kirk said. "We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing.”

AAJA commended Kirk for his prompt response and added it was possible the Sun-Times newsroom "lacked the diversity of voices on staff that might have questioned the appropriateness of the headline."

Outside of the AAJA, the general consensus regarding the Sun-Times' headline seems to fall on the side of it being an inappropriate moment to be trite with words. While newsroom diversity may be an issue, one doesn't need a "diversity of voices" to question the need to be clever with the headline in a news story when people have died or been injured.

That's the lesson learned here.

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Photo credit: Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images