Journ. 133: Prof. Craig: Headline Exercise, Part 1

Headline Exercise, Part 1
For this exercise you will choose ANY FIVE of the stories listed below, and provide the following for each:
  • Five to 10 key words about the topic that could be included in a headline
  • A suggestion for one or more standard headlines
  • A suggestion for one or more creative headlines

  • You will be placed into groups to create these, and we will reconvene in a few minutes to discuss them.  Please save these into a document -- you'll need them for the second part of the headline assignment. 


    1. Senators in Washington state have proposed a mileage-based tax for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as the first step toward changing how the state pays for road maintenance and other transportation needs. 

      Policymakers expect gas tax revenue to decline long term. Oregon has been experimenting with a per-mile charge for years.

      Right now, Washingtonians who own fully electric cars pay an extra $225 annual registration fee. A proposal by state Sen. Rebecca Saldana (D-Seattle) would replace that flat fee beginning in July 2026 with a mandatory 2 cents per mile road usage charge for electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

    3. BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Fire crews with the National Park Service have been igniting controlled fires in the Florida Everglades to control an invasive vine that’s been wreaking havoc on the native ecosystem.

      The plant, called Lygodium Microphyllum - and also known as Old World Climbing Fern - is a stealthy and invasive plant that was likely introduced as decorative vegetation but made its way into the Everglades in 1999.

      While many may think of the invasive Burmese python as a great threat to wildlife, scientists like Dr. Ellen Lake with the USDA Invasive Plant Research Lab in Davie say Lygodium could be more dangerous.

      “This is a monster,” Lake said. “It can grow 40 to 60 feet long and it just outcompetes everything in its path.”

      It can shade out vegetation, and according to the website for the University of Florida’s Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants: “Dense growth of the plant can also be a fire hazard, frequently enabling small ground fires to reach into tree canopies where it can kill the growing branches.”


    5. An online survey has revealed that some people experiencing long-haul COVID-19 say their symptoms disappeared after getting vaccinated.

      Just over one day after getting her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Arianna Eisenberg, who experienced fatigue, insomnia, brian fog and muscle pain for eight months, said her lingering symptoms were gone.

      "I really felt back to myself, to a way that I didn't think was possible when I was really sick," Ms. Eisenberg, a 34-year-old therapist in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, told the Washington Post.

      Survivor Corps, an online group of people with long COVID-19 symptoms, conducted an informal member survey that showed 216 people felt no different after vaccination, while 171 said their conditions improved and 63 said they felt worse. Little research has been officially published on the subject.

      Researchers suspect symptoms subsiding after vaccination could be due to a number of reasons. The placebo effect could be one simple explanation. Another theory suggests the COVID-19 vaccine could be prompting the immune system to rid the body of any virus it's still harboring, similar to what happens with the virus responsible for chickenpox and shingles.


    7. BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University suspended the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority Tuesday evening following reports of alleged hazing incidents published that morning.

      A 19-year-old student alleged that her 2022 pledge class was hazed by older sisters last year during the chapter’s Big Little Night, an annual event when pledges find out which older member of the sorority is their "big sister" and mentor.

      She said pledges were taken to a dark basement and told they must choose between doing a line of cocaine or performing oral sex on fraternity men. Two other women present corroborated key details of Willoughby’s story. One said the sisters told the pledge class this was their punishment “for being the worst pledge class ever” before telling them it was a joke.

      Two more women from different pledge classes said they had similar experiences on Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Big Little Night.


    9. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Cafes across several Gulf Arab states started selling coffee and other cold drinks in baby bottles this month, kicking off a new trend that has elicited excitement, confusion — and backlash.

      The fad began at Einstein Cafe, a slick dessert chain with branches across the region, from Dubai to Kuwait to Bahrain. Instead of ordinary paper cups, the cafe, inspired by pictures of trendy-looking bottles shared on social media, decided to serve its thick milky drinks in plastic baby bottles.

      Lines clogged Einstein stores across the Gulf. People of all ages streamed onto sidewalks, waiting for their chance to suck coffee and juice from a plastic bottle. Pictures of baby bottles filled with colorful kaleidoscopes of drinks drew thousands of likes on Instagram and ricocheted across the popular social media app TikTok. 

      Soon, however, online haters took note — the baby bottle drinkers and providers faced a barrage of nasty comments.

      Last week, the anger reached the highest levels of government. Dubai authorities cracked down. Inspection teams burst into cafes where the trend had taken off and handed out fines.

    11. PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has arrested a mother and daughter accused of illegally accessing hundreds of student accounts to rig a vote and crown the teen daughter as her school's homecoming queen.

      Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her daughter, 17, are charged with offense against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices; unlawful use of a two-way communication device; criminal use of personally identified information; and conspiracy to commit these offenses.

      The alleged scheme took place at Tate High School in Pensacola, where Carroll’s daughter was enrolled. Carroll worked as an assistant principal at an elementary school in the same district at the time.

      In October 2022, hundreds of votes for Tate High School’s Homecoming Court were tagged as fraudulent, with 117 votes originating from the same IP address linked to Carroll’s phone.

      Carroll’s daughter was still crowned homecoming queen, however, video and pictures online show.

      Multiple students later reported that Carroll’s daughter described using her mother’s access to Focus, the student information system, to cast votes from students’ accounts. 

    13. A great white shark was caught last week by a specialized fishing charter in Florida, which has video to prove it.

      The catch was documented in a YouTube video uploaded by Big John Shark Fishing Adventures, which is the only land-based fishing charter that’s focused on catching sharks in Pensacola.

      Retired professional hockey player John McLean Jr. led a group of seven Idaho fishermen on the evening charter, the video shows. The group traveled to the shores near Portofino Island to catch a shark, but it seems that none expected to catch a great white.

      According to KLEW, the CBS affiliated television station in Lewiston, Idaho, where the amateur shark hunters hail from, the group caught the great white shark last week and it took 40 minutes to reel in.

      McLean told the outlet that the shark was quickly released back into the water. Moreover, he said he was able to identify the shark as a great white based on its eyes and fin.

    15. PITTSBURGH -- Pennsylvania State Police are investigating after a security guard was dragged by a truck while chasing after a suspect who allegedly stole a giant foam carrot from an Easter display at the Clearview Mall.

      Troopers out of the State Police barracks were dispatched on Wednesday afternoon after the giant foam carrot was reported stolen. The mall's security guard who was on duty at the time of the theft told Troopers that he chased the suspects into a dark red Chevy pickup truck into the parking lot near the Texas Roadhouse.

      When the security guard tried to open the door of the truck, he was dragged approximately 1/4 mile at an approximate speed of 35 miles per hour. He was not injured during the incident.


    17. MONROE, Washington -- Not satisfied with the amount of money they found in a Starbucks safe, two robbers allegedly went to work filling coffee orders and pocketing the proceeds.

      The pair served at least 18 unsuspecting customers over a half-hour period early Friday morning and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, Cmdr. Rick Dunn said.

      The holdup early Tuesday began before opening time, when a woman was allowed to use the shop's restroom, Dunn said. After her accomplice also entered, the two approached the manager with guns, demanded that the safe be opened and took the money.

      The man then donned a Starbucks apron and he and the woman ordered an employee to assist them at the drive-up window, where they filled orders from 18 to 25 customers before fleeing.  The other two employees were confined to a back room.

    18. A blob of seaweed thousands of miles long is headed to Florida, the Caribbean and eventually the Gulf of Mexico, scientists say.

      Dubbed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt by scientists, the swath of tendrilled, somewhat rubbery seaweed has become an annual, often stinky occurrence in the last few years, swamping beaches and resorts from South Florida, through the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico with mats of the macroalgae, which then decomposes, releasing hydrogen sulfide. The gas has an odor reminiscent of rotten eggs, and can cause respiratory problems.

      Early chunks of the grass mats may start arriving in South Florida in the coming weeks, but the belt is so long the mats are expected to pile up and waft their stench over local beaches through October.

      Though common for centuries — Christopher Columbus spotted sargassum floating in the middle of the Atlantic on his way to the Americas in the 15th century — 2011 saw a surge in the algae’s surface area that has continued to grow, according to a 2019 paper by scientists at the University of South Florida.

On to Part 2 ->


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