Nevada County Peeps reacts to local newspaper headline

Uhh …

“Nevada City fixture dies after fall from tree / The”

“He was not a ‘fixture’; he was a human and a friend,” Justin Martinez in Nevada County Peeps.

Then when you click on the headline at, it’s been rewritten without the word “fixture.” The print version can’t be changed, however; it’s circulating “as is.”

Social media is changing how we communicate.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

8 thoughts on “Nevada County Peeps reacts to local newspaper headline”

  1. Social media blew this one, then — “fixture” in this case was obviously used in its well-documented and completely accustomed sense of “someone who’s always there.” That’s standard usage, wholly accurate, and not at all demeaning, even if one cranky person on Facebook thinks it is. It was as charitable and heartwarming of an article as could be written, given the circumstances…The Union should have stood by both their reporter and the accepted usage of the English language and just left it.

  2. Sid,
    A lot of people know that, but words also can lose their meaning from generation to generation and be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Better to steer clear in a headline, newspaper editors are warned. I often find this “visual thesaurus” to be a useful tool to understand how people might interpret different words:
    I will miss him too. We explained this accident to our son this morning.

  3. Just to be clear, Jeff. A web headline was added at 8:34 a.m. (I checked), well before the Peeps comment from Justin Martinez. That headline added his name, probably in order to increase reads from those who knew him. It had nothing to do with the comment…

  4. I was confused by the word “fixture” at first and thought some piece of equipment had fallen on someone. It’s a word I would have used in a descriptive sentence, but probably not a headline.
    “Well known Nevada City street personality”, or “Iconic Nevada City Hipster”?
    It’s so sad that he didn’t get some help before he hurt himself.

  5. Liz,

    You wrote: A web headline was “added” at 8:34 a.m. No, the headline was changed manually from the original one (not “added”), because that’s how the technology works (automatically porting the text from print to online).

    Trouble is, the original headline still exists in the Facebook template, which generated the comment. Better to just make a decision on a headline and stick with it.

    BTW, would be a better product with timestamps, just like a lot of other news websites.

    Also, I have a “day use pass” but still am able to read the newspaper many days later for only $1. You might want to have IT investigate that glitch to recoup lost revenue.

    On the editorial side, congratulations on your promotion to a city editor/senior reporter.

    Is there going to be a memorial? We would like to attend with our son, who is trying to understand this.

  6. Our system is wacky but it was not manually changed. What happens when a web headline is added to the system is that it replaces the print headline, or is supposed to, anyway. There are definitely glitches, we have some issues with photos that get removed that still show up…
    I don’t have any info yet on memorial.

  7. Liz,

    Thanks. I presume somebody has to “add” that headline; it doesn’t just type itself into the system. And it only replaces the existing headline in, not the original one that is recorded on the Facebook template. It happens with WordPress and other platforms too. That’s why you have to be pretty happy with the original version. People will still see it on Facebook, even if it is changed.

    On a much higher plane, many thanks to The Union for acknowledging Ryan’s death. I know it was a sincere effort to honor the man, albeit with an awkward headline.

    I hope there is a memorial.

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