Misleading Headline of the Moment

My jaw almost dropped to the floor this morning when my newsreader showed me the Washington Post headline “Sony Cuts Price of PlayStation 3 to $410.” Quickly skimming through for the details, it was not until paragraph four that I realized the story was referring to the Japanese price, and not the North American price (the story has since been updated, but the original version did not make this clear until well into the article).

I know this is a wire story, but any editor worth his salt should really clarify that that $410 in the headline does not mean the system will retail for $410 in the United States. If the clarification doesn’t come in the headline, it should at very least come in the lede, since this is as far as many readers will get before clicking on to some other story.

To be fair the Post posted a Reuters story later in the day with the much clearer headline “Sony cuts PS3 Japan price,” so the mistake could just be chalked up to early morning recklessness (the original story was posted at 1:41 a.m.) Still, as launch details for the next generation of systems continue to leak out, it’s important that we make it clear what region is being discussed, and that details for one region don’t necessarily mean anything for another.

Sorry for the lack of updates this week… various major projects coming together, and I’m preparing to attend the X06 conference in Barcelona next week. Back to the old schedule after that.

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