Public Editor

‘Kill suspect with knife’ headline confusing

Earlier today, a wire story ran on with the headline, “St. Louis officers kill suspect with knife.” One emailer noted shortly after it was posted that it could easily give readers the wrong impression:

In my opinion, this is not a well-thought-out headline. One might think that the police are now using knives. How about “Knife-wielding suspect killed by St. Louis Police?”

Very good point. I asked a Web editor to change it, and now it reads “St. Louis officers kill knife-wielding suspect,” to keep it in the active voice but to make it clear who had the knife.