Friday, September 16, 2005

Caption falls short as it leans too far forward

Questionable caption: "New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, left, leans forward to view a map as he calls out areas that will be open as the city recovers from Hurricane Katrina." [color text mine]
Citation: "
Mayor Plans to Reopen Parts of New Orleans" by Brett Martel, AP., AOL News, Crisis After Katrina, Latest News, Thursday, September 15, 2005, 9:49 pm EDT.
Usage: Photo of New Orleans mayor looking at map.
Recommendation: delete "leans forward to view"; better yet, recast the whole caption to something more like "New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, left, identifies areas of the city to reopen beginning Monday as it recovers from Hurricane Katrina."
Rationale: Captions can be hard to write, but please! Telling the reader that the mayor is leaning is useless information. Who cares that he's leaning? More important is the fact that the map identifies areas of New Orleans, La., soon to reopen to residents.

Also try my blog on clichés at


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