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I was drawn to the changes of the headline of today’s New York Times’ article reporting JPMorgan Chase established a program to hire a lot of sons and daughters of Chinese dignitaries.

The headline I saw first in this morning in its online edition was “Bank charted business linked to China hiring.” It was “Bank tabulated business –” in 10 minutes later, and now the final version (6:40 PM ET) is “Bank tallied business linked to China hiring” followed by the lead-copy:

“Confidential documents offer the most detailed account yet of JPMorgan Chase’s “Sons and Daughters” hiring program in China, which has been at the center of a federal bribery investigation.” http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/12/07/bank-tabulated-business-linked-to-china-hiring/?hp

I understand “chart “and “tally” are different in meaning. But I wonder what is the intent of deliberately changing the verb in a short headline from “chart” to “tabulate” to “tally” in a few minutes to a few hours?

Isn’t the headline saying the same thing after all, or is it making any improvement of wording or articulation by making these changes?

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The intended meanings of the three formulations (using 'charted', 'tabulated', and 'tallied') are isomorphic. Roughly:

J.P. Morgan entered in a tally (chart/table) the business resulting from the hiring (of the offspring of Chinese leaders).

For me comprehensibility improves from zero to about 0.9. Perhaps 'charted' is too ambiguous?

-- Mats (mr249@cornell.edu)

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