Fed Up With Juneau Empire Sports Headlines

I like Juneau, Alaska. It's a nice place. That said, Juneau and Ketchikan can often be big competitors, especially between our high schools. For a long time, Juneau-Douglas High and Ketchikan were the only 4A high schools in the region, which is a system of tiers based on the number of students, so schools with 50 students don't compete against schools with 700. However, JDHS used to be the biggest high school in the state, and Kayhi was the smallest 4A in the state, so it wasn't exactly a level playing field, and that's been evident in many different sports and competitions over the years.

A few years ago, however, Juneau finally built a second high school to accomodate their massive student population. I think this has probably equalized things some, but you wouldn't get that impression from the sports articles in the Juneau Empire.

For a while on this blog I've kept a gadget that shows me news articles with the keyword "Ketchikan," and often it picks up sports articles from the Juneau Empire, the capital city's primary news source. I knew for years that the Empire used ridiculous headlines in its sports articles, but now the internet keeps reminding me of it. Look at this recent one:

Crimson Bears girls devour Kings on icy pitch

The article doesn't even state the game's score, so I assume it was pretty bad, but all the same, "devour" is an insulting and immature verb for a journalist to use. I don't think there's any way to argue with that, although by all means leave a comment if you wish. I've seen this done many times over the years with things like "crush," "squash" or whatever else. Now check out this headline:

Falcons' side passes first test at Ketchikan

Hmm. Without knowing anything else, what do think happened in the four games Juneau's Thunder Mountain High boys soccer teams played against the Kayhi? How does two ties and two losses sound? The headline would certainly never read "Kings devour Falcons" or even admit, just at the most basic level, "Kings defeat Falcons." (By the way, I will never understand why Thunder Mountain didn't choose the thunderbird as their mascot. Falcons are incredibly lame by comparison.)

Don't get me wrong - newspapers have every right to tilt things toward their hometown. I have no problem with writers who want to go easy on the hometeam after losing a big game. At the same time, I think it's totally inappropriate that year after year, the Juneau Empire makes fun of Ketchikan, using insulting, immature phrases and never getting called out on it. I've never seen the Ketchikan Daily News write about Kayhi crushing, whomping, or smacking down Juneau - and it's not from lack of opportunity. For all its faults, I think Ketchikan's paper is more professional. The next time I see another stupid headline, I'm going to devour the Juneau Empire.

Comments