The headline problem, part 2

Sunday Star’s Select Six — This headline, which I wrote, in today’s Life, etc. drew an irate phone call to Thad Ogburn, the Features editor, this morning. The reader was sure that we had made a mistake in creating a plural with an apostrophe.

In fact, I meant the headline to be a possessive. The contest is called “Sunday Star,” like “American Idol.” We’re going to choose ONE best singer from a Triangle church, so it’s singular. The “Select Six” was a play on the “Elite Eight” or the “Sweet Sixteen” in the NCAA basketball tournament. That’s why I capitalized “Select Six.” So it’s a singular proper name (Sunday Star’s) in possession of a fanciful appellation (Select Six). Thus the headline was correct.

But, apparently, the structure left some print readers confused, and that’s a problem. On the other hand, it looks just right online.

The irritated reader left only a voice mail with no phone number, so Thad couldn’t call her back. Bummer.

By the way, go to to vote for your favorite singer. We have some beautiful voices to choose from. The winner will be announced May 23.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.