Journalistic integrity is dead.
I hope that this bickering over his choice of a title and whether or not it's a pun doesn't rub you the wrong way. I think it's a great article otherwise and it's an incredibly interesting problem that made me think. Thank you for posting it!
For what it's worth, I don't really fault the author for coming up with this title. Ultimately the responsibility falls on his editor and I think his editor should have stopped it. Others are free to disagree with me (and by the downvotes, I'd say most are.)
This is not the death of "journalistic integrity".
PUN: Attack on the pentagon results in discovery of new mathematical tile
CB: Breaking News: Pentagon attack
My real gripe is that there's a time and place for everything and a newspaper ought to know and respect that line. You don't mislead someone skimming your headlines into thinking the pentagon has been attacked for the sake of a joke. I like clever headlines as much as the next guy, and I understand that for the sake of a joke you might leave some ambiguity in the air and mislead your reader slightly, but this goes far past that.
I think his editor should have caught this.
FWIW, SPJ uses this exact term in their ethics code. I'm not trying to be pretentious.
I think that in the context of a newspaper when you read, "Attack on the pentagon" the first thought that most people have is that there has been an attack on The Pentagon. That's the whole reason it's a pun, right? Because you're lead to believe it refers to The Pentagon when it really refers to a 5 sided polygon?
That's an inappropriate thing for a newspaper to do. Go ahead and make puns, just not about attacks on government buildings.
The SPJ ethics code clearly states,
> "make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context."
At the very least you must admit that it's pushing the envelope, no? The fact that the HN mods changed the title from what OP submitted is evidence enough that I'm not alone in thinking it's a misleading headline.
Most people on this planet do not give a crap about some tasteless Northern American building. It is unlikely the first association with the word "pentagon" for anyone outside of the US.
But let's assume I'm wrong and most readers don't know what The Pentagon is or wouldn't have associated the title with the US government building. If that's the case, then what is the point of the pun at all?