Axios journalism style delivers traditional news content in scannable format

In addition to the fact that it’s good news that a federal judge is responding rationally to science, logic, and our basic human obligation to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, I’m also interested in the way Axios labels each paragraph of this news story and supplies details with bullet points. It’s an interesting blend of journalism and writing scannable text for busy online readers.

Copying and pasting text from the Axios website is annoying because of the embedded non-standard formatting. (I had to recreate the look on my page.)

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) ban on mask mandates in state public schools “violates” the rights of students with disabilities.

Why it matters: U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in the ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act overrides Abbott’s order issued earlier this year prohibiting government entities in the state, including public schools, from requiring masks.

  • Yeakel’s ruling, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, could have an impact on other Republican-led states seeking to prohibit mask mandates in schools.

Driving the news: The judge’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by advocacy group Disability Rights Texas and families of students with disabilities challenging Abbott’s order.

  • The ruling means Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton can’t enforce Abbott’s order to impose a fine of up to $1,000 for entities that implement mask mandates.

Details: “The spread of COVID-19 poses an even greater risk for children with special health needs. Children with certain underlying conditions who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe acute biological effects and to require admission to a hospital and the hospital’s intensive-care unit,” Yeakel wrote.

“This includes children with conditions including, Down Syndrome, organ transplants, lung conditions, heart conditions, and weakened immune systems.”

–Yeakel

 
The term “mask mandate ban” has been in the news long enough that most of us won’t misread it, but that headline is a bit awkward because “mask,” “mandate,” and “ban” can all be either nouns or verbs.
 
Active or passive verb?
 
  • Federal judge overturns Texas mask mandate ban for public schools
  • Texas mask mandate ban for public schools overturned by federal judge
Active verbs usually engage the reader more fully, but the judge in this story is not as important as the thing being judged, so I’d say the headline that starts with “Texas mask mandate ban overturned” is better written.