Burning down the house — but not town hall

Readers see headlines and images, and then (we hope) read the text of the story. That’s why it is important for that combination of headline and photograph to make the correct impression.

That doesn’t happen here. The “steady pace” headline is at odds with the image of destruction. The story mentions that a house was burned down by firefighters to clear the site for the new town hall, but that’s pretty far to ask the reader to go to reconcile this unfortunate juxtaposition.

Solutions to this sort of problem include changing the headline or selecting a different photo. Another option is to write the cutline in a way that clearly connects the image to the story. In this case, perhaps revising the second sentence of the cutline to mention that this is the town hall site would help.

Here is another example. And here.