CNN Tweeted An Upworthy-Ish Headline, And It Really Didn’t Go Down That Well On Twitter

What is the best way to report a terrible news story? Not like this.

1. CNN published a story on its website this morning about an 11-year-old Illinois girl who had been stabbed 40 times.

2. At first it was suspected that an intruder was to blame for the attack, but it was later suspected to be her 14-year-old sister. CNN reported:

Because the sister, who called police, initially told officers an intruder was to blame for the attack, authorities briefly placed three schools on lockdown.

The truth, when it emerged, was even more shocking.

The 14-year-old, authorities say, repeatedly and fatally stabbed the victim — her half sister — with a kitchen knife because the teen thought she was ungrateful.

“This incident is a heartbreaking tragedy that defies understanding,” said Mundelein Mayor Steve Lentz. “I am asking the Chicagoland area, please pray for us. Pray, first of all, for the family that has been devastated by this.”

3. So what headline was used on the CNN Breaking News Twitter account? It went with this…

4. The response to this headline on Twitter? Not great.

Oh for God's sake, CNN, come on: “@cnnbrk: 14-year-old girl stabbed her little sister 40 times, police say. The reason why will shock you."

— Samuel Axon (@SamuelAxon)

@cnnbrk Really, CNN? "The reason why will shock you!" What kind of pathetically pandering journalism is that?

— Karis Heffner (@17karis17)

8. Journalists aren’t that pleased either.

CNN and the Upworthy style headline. The end of journalism is nigh...

— Gianluca Mezzofiore (@GianlucaMezzo)

Jesus, even CNN is doing Upworthy style headlines now. That’s it, I’m quitting online journalism and starting a bi-monthly music mag.

— Ewan Palmer (@EwanPalmer)

CNN tweeted this Upworthy style headline and you won't believe how angry people are

— David Wyllie (@journodave)

11. Even Upworthy writer Adam Mordecai thought that doing this headline wasn’t a particularly good idea.

12. The ironic thing is that the headline saw far more retweets than many any other story tweeted by @cnnbrk today.

So it raises an interesting question. Did it get so many retweets because people were so angry that it was tweeted, or did the Upworthy-esque headline prompt more people to actually share it in the first place?

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Scott Bryan is a TV editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London. Contact this reporter at:
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