Donald Keith Johnson was arrested at 2 a.m. today for smoking crack while driving. Bad move. You might expect a headline such as: “Man Smokes Crack While Driving.” Or: “Crack Smoker Busted Behind Wheel.” I’m partial to the second, actually. But the DMN went with this headline: “Dallas Teacher Accused of Smoking Crack While Driving.” Because, yes, the guy is a DISD teacher. Or was.
Here’s the thing, though. If, say, an employee of Exxon Mobil were caught doing the same thing, the headline wouldn’t read “Exxon Engineer Accused of Smoking Crack While Driving.” Johnson wasn’t smoking crack at school. He wasn’t caught high at school. I’d argue that his occupation is part of the story and it deserves mention, perhaps even in the lead. But not in the headline.
Again, this is one of the reasons why, if you get your news from the newspaper, you have a more negative impression of the school district than people who get their news from other sources. Remember that study I told you about back in April?