It’s rare for a media brand to be on the receiving end of heaping praise these days, but for a full 24 hours, the New York Times has delighting readers with a single headline: “When an Eel Climbs a Ramp to Eat Squid From a Clamp, That’s a Moray.“
The piece, published Tuesday, examines the hunting practices of moray eels on land, relying on footage from a recent study that shows how the creatures use “a sneaky second set of jaws” to get the job done.
The topic is interesting, but the headline and on-theme captions littered throughout the article have been the real draw for readers, who have been cheering for the paper of record to win some kind of prize for the effort.
From the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to arts columnist Howard Sherman, media folks have been calling for the Times to get a Pulitzer or something — anything — like a “Headline Writers Hall of Fame” honor. Sherman was so enamored by the headline he hopped onto Twitter before even opening the link, though he said he planned to “read the article later.” Abigail Disney, of the Disneys, enthused she “can’t even” with the headline while other readers tried their hands at making some marine-themed lyrics.
On Wednesday, after giving Twitter blue-checks a day to have their fun, BuzzFeed News’ Katie Notopoulos offered a gentle reality check: “Look, I appreciate the headline too, but I worry this is distracting us from the TERRIFYING news that ‘eels can hunt on land.'”
Readers have so far carried on delighting in the story, which features captions like, “If the squid is too flat, there’s no problem with that, that’s a moray,” and, “If the squid is so big, it still eats like a pig, that’s a moray.”
To make it even timelier, one of the eels profiled in the piece is named Benjen, which is bringing another layer of joy to the subset of Times readers who enjoy news of the animal kingdom as well as updates on the goings-on of reportedly rekindled 2000s power couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
See more of the praise below:
Someone should win a Pulitzer for this headline:https://t.co/pZOUzRfuU5
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) June 22, 2021
This headline deserves its own Pulitzer. I'll read the article later. https://t.co/ZOI9AAaorR
— Howard Sherman (@HESherman) June 22, 2021
Read original story NY Times’ Genius ‘That’s a Moray’ Headline Wins the Internet: ‘Deserves Its Own Pulitzer’ At TheWrap