Headline Writing

Summer class, welcome!

You'll help shape the direction of this online discussion, meant to encourage your interaction on timely topics of importance. Since as a class we're heading into a discussion of headline writing on the Internet, I'd like to direct your attention to this story on ZDNet. It summarizes the findings of a 2006 eyetracking study by Jakob Nielsen, which underscored the importance of strong, attention-getting headline writing.

I'd like you to weigh in now, posting links to one well-written and one less-adeptly written headline on a news Web site.

With each link, briefly tell the group where and when the headline was posted and why you believe the headline is strong or not-so-strong. Remember your comments are being published; please be diplomatic. They're due here by the start of class June 28.


Marie Elena said...

Here is a headline that I found on my hometown newspaper's Web site talking about the flooding, or lack there of that happened near Harrisburg. The headline was: Nuisance, not major flooding across West Shore It's a pretty simple headline that gets to the point that the rain was more of a hassle than anything else.

One headline that I found that was not very well written, in my opinion, was this one: CNN gets high ratings for Jolie interview The story is more about the beating that CNN took from critics for "selling out" because they did the interview for ratings. I think this headline should have reflected that as the point of the story, not just the fact that the interview brought in high ratings.

Jeremy said...

Here is a headline that I did not like: Cell phone use to be tested in middle schools. The headline is using passive voice and makes it feel dull and boring.

I liked this headline: Saturday night is for cruisin’ in Olney. The headline draws in the reader and is written in the context of the story. This headline makes me want to read the story to find out more.

Farrah Childs said...

Good Headline:

Bridge Is a Beauty, but as for Those Backups . . .
This is a good headline because it lures the readers into finding out more about the bridge's beauty, and what problems they may run into.

Bad Headline:

Keeping the Thin Blue Line on Straight and Narrow

This headline needs some clarification as to what the "Thin Blue Line" is. The story is about law enforcement reform and issues such as excessive force. The writer should tease the readers with a little more about the specifics of the story to draw their interest.

Tristan Edmondson said...

Bad Headline:

My favorite example of bad headline came out of the Baltimore Sun’s sports section: "Gay drafted by Rockets, will be dealt to Grizzlies". The young basketball star’s unfortunate name creates an instant double meaning for those not familiar with his work in college basketball. Simply adding his first name would erase all hints of the alternate meaning.


Good Headline:

A good example of a headline is in USA Today. The headline, “Koizumi ‘all shook up’” describes a recent trip by President Bush and Japan’s prime minister (and Elvis Fan) Koizumi Junichiro to Elvis’ Graceland. I think the headline works well because even though it many people won’t recognize the name, it conjures up a nostalgic image. When the reader finally does realize who the subject is, it paints an upbeat and light-hearted image of politicians swinging their hips to old rock and roll tunes.


newsjunkie said...

Tell you what i think? I think, that i think, that you all need to think of some good adjectives not bad ones like good and bad repeated over and over! To judge something as simply good or bad is not to qualify it. Although you go on to do so in the ensuing texts on this blog, you could at least inspire by starting with - catchy headline, descriptive headline, informative headline, boring headline, vague, wordy, etc. These still convey whether it's positive or negative. Encouraging your students is surely the first step. Sorry to be negative but, having been drawn to the blog for its potential content, i was soon losing the will to live. Good luck with your studies.