KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27, 2015:
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has urged editors of news organisations to be more responsible in drafting headlines and for readers not to be misled by the titles.
He said this was because there had been a slew of misleading headlines which had confused readers and did not reflect the news that was written, and sometimes had deviated from its contents.
Salleh said articles with such headlines were also sensationalised while the writing was out of context.
“The title, or news headline, must reflect the details of a story. That is a principle in journalism ethics. It must be raised from the ‘intro’, or first paragraph of an article.
“News headlines are usually determined by the editor and not the journalist or writer whose ‘by-line’ is contained in the report.
“Therefore, the selection of the news headline depends on the justification and integrity of an editor,” he said in a blog posting today.
Salleh said he had noticed different approaches to news angles. To attract attention, he said, news portals were prone to look for headlines that were sensational, controversial, speculative and provocative.
“Every editor has a basis, method and approach of his own.
“Customarily, editors would select a title that can ‘sell’ newspapers. Therefore, editors of newspapers or news portals must be more careful as they are fully responsible for what is being published.
“Readers must also be more cautious.
“Do not simply look at a title or news headline because the content of the story is sometimes not the same as the title. Readers must also conduct self-censorship.”