What’s the story?

The rescue of a New York Times reporter in Afghanistan is providing a glimpse into how several news organizations have different headline takes on the same story.

Sometimes, apparently, there are different views within the same organization.

The headline on the New York Times around 6:30 this morning said “New York Times Reporter Freed in Afghanistan.” But only within the story itself was it noted that Stephen Farrell’s translator was killed. That, Al Jazeera notes, is a huge part of the story.

At 9:50 a.m., the headline was changed.


NPR, using Associated Press copy, went with the “freed reporter” headline.


The translator’s death was below the headline.

But even that only tells part of the story. A British soldier was killed, too. The Guardian, on the other hand, views the story differently… from its perspective:


But that’s not the whole story, either. The BBC — and apparently only the BBC — played the story without injecting a perspective.


The number dead is not entirely clear. It’s lost in a hail of other parts of the story. Whose bullets killed whom? And how did the women die?

  • Bob Moffitt

    We don’t know all the facts yet, so I won’t speculate. However, my first thought on hearing the news was that the Afghan translater may had been a victim of ‘friendly fire.’

    Just another example that even ‘sucess’ in that troubled land comes at a high cost in human lives.