Q: Has a cure been found for the common cold? A: No.

Experienced newspaper readers will know that when the headline ends in a question mark, the answer is always no.

So Axegrinder held on to his hat when he saw today’s ‘i’ front page headline stating: Has a cure been found for the common cold?

But then as ‘i’ claims to be targeting a new generation of time-poor commuters who don’t currently buy newspapers perhaps they fell for it. Those who forked out £1 for The Times would have been given the rather less sensational page 11 headline: “Scientists one step closer to a cure for the common cold”.

The discovery by Cambridge researchers showing that antibodies can fight viruses once they have entered cells “may open up new avenues for developing antiviral drugs”, the boffins tell The Times, opening up the possibility of a cure for the cold some time in the future.

For 20p i is amazing value, and a great round-up for the all the news for someone in a hurry – and its dedicated staff of ten production journalists must work incredibly hard to get it out each day. But I think they could have done better with the two other front page headlines as well.

The ‘Quiet, please. It’s a rock concert’ headline about Boy George, also on the front, teases a feature inside about a rant by the pop singer at a charity concert which was reported by the News of the World on 17 October (paywall protected). And I couldn’t help thinking of the late Keith Waterhouse’s advice on use of ’screamers’ when reading the Pimp my poppy! headline in the bottom right corner:

“An exclamation mark cannot tell the reader that a particular passage is funny. The most it can tell him is that it was meant to be funny.”

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