Shape Shifting NY Times Headline on Gene Drive Becomes More Positive

After the NY Times published an article on June 8th on the exciting, controversial technology called gene drive that can alter the genome of an entire species, strangely the article’s headline changed at least twice.

The article was focused on a National Academy panel studying this technology. The headline gradually evolved to become much more positive in tone. You can see this evolution below in chronological order from top to bottom.

Harmon Gene Drive article headlineThe first headline sounded like there wasn’t much support, while by the time the third title for the same article popped up now the focus was on the panel endorsing gene drive. I’m not sure if the actual text of the piece changed substantively or not, but what gives with the title?

Did the paper get pushback on the original title from someone? Did editors themselves change their minds and decide a more positive title was needed?

Who knows? However, it seems like this kind of headline evolution means something.