4.04.2007

Headlines

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Love Shack challenges Johns Creek
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/northfulton/stories/2007/04/02/0402loveshack.html

If you didn't know that Love Shack is an adult novelty store and John's Creek is an Atlanta suburb, you'd think this was some kind of softball rematch.

From the LA Times:
Parents stand up and cheer as a $15 sneaker enters the game
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-sneakers4apr04,0,3778454.story?coll=la-home-nation

This is a story about an NBA player who, like many others has his own line of shoes, but unlike others', his shoes are priced at about $15. The shoe's popularity seems to be defying the "snob appeal" that expensive shoes seems to have.

The headline is intriguing if you're not familiar with the story. It employs a clever metaphor for a familiar image of fans cheering as the players enter the arena at the beginning of each game.






Heds - one good, one not so adept.

Good - "Cline takes on thug cops" It uses active voice, identifies someone who's recognizable locally (the police superintendent, I think) and the phrase "thug cops," while normally unacceptable in a hed, is justified when you're talking about a burly police officer repeatedly punching a 115-pound woman.

Not so adept - "Google makes a 'hiss' terical search", a story about a large snake loose in Google's headquarters.

The hed tells me it's snake-related, but the concept of a snake loose in Google's office is so promising, I would've liked to see something more creative. Plus, the search wasn't hysterical, unless they were freaking out as it happened - plausible considering the snake is three feet long.

"Latest Google search: A python in the office" was CNNMoney's hed, and that makes me much happier.

It's a light story with no huge import, and the underlying premise is amusing - the perfect time to have some fun with the hed.

Raechal's headlines

Good headline example: Coup that is Oprah has Howard gushing

Yes, whoever who wrote this April 3 WashingtonPost.com headline broke the rule that writers should use active voice in headlines. That said, they also managed to pack news (Oprah is doing something for Howard), its effect (everyone at Howard is excited) and context (getting Oprah involved is a coup) into a seven-word slug. The story folows the headline’s fun, conversational tone, and the two elements mesh well. My only criticism is that the headline fails to let readers know just how Oprah is involved at Howard. The story and the subhead that is displayed under the headline explains that she’s their scheduled graduation speaker.

Bad headline example: Edwards has more treatable type of cancer

This April 4 USAToday.com headline confused me so much that I had to click on the story. Maybe it worked in that way. However, I didn’t think it did a great job of saying anything. The Associated Press story that went with it is a little muddled as well. Apparently, Elizabeth Edwards found out in a doctor’s appointment Friday that her cancer—which her husband, John Edwards, and the media have said is “untreatable”-- is “more likely to be controlled by anti-estrogen drugs.” Huh? I wondered if the reporter and the headline writer were trying to write around saying that their earlier reporting may not have been accurate. Also, most of the story is about what kind of life expcetancy Edwards has and how she is vowing to fight regardless of how long doctors project she will live. Was the headline writer confused by the story too?

Good and Bad Headlines

Good: An Arid West No Longer Waits for Rain

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/04/us/04drought.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Comment: I liked this headline because it's clear and gets straight to the point. Moreover, it's compelling enough to make me want to read the full story. Once I read the headline, I immediately wanted to know what these states planned to do now. I became interested in seeing the alternative methods they came up with in dealing with the dry conditions. Therefore, I think the headline did its job.


Bad:
No Charges in Radio Death

URL: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/ and

Comment: The first image that came to my mind when reading this headline was one of a radio lying in a puddle of blood, with its arms and legs stretched out. In other words, my image was sort of cartoonish. But once I clicked on the headline, it took me to the full article. In fact, the second page (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/03/BAGJEP0KDV1.DTL) had a better headline than the first. It provided more detail about what the story was about. By the way, the story was about a California woman who died of water intoxication after participating in a radio contest. So, I'm pretty sure that my first thought wasn't what the headline's creator was going for.

Good and Not-so-good Headlines

Good: Pulling all the right strings
http://media.www.diamondbackonline.com/media/storage/paper873/news/2007/04/02/Diversions/Pulling.All.The.Right.Strings-2816275.shtml

I like this headline because it is a use of figurative language and a play on what the context of the story is actually about. Sometimes, when you need to get to a certain point in life, you need to pull some strings to get there. Jim Henson used strings to operate his puppets. He pulled all the right strings to gain his fame and fortune. It might sound a little cheesey when you analyze it, but up front it's short and sweet.


Not-so-Good: Curious George goes bananas in Mexico City
http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2007/04/curious_george_.html

First off, I actually think this headline is good and quite clever. However, my post is in relation to what headlines can do when they are not placed correctly. This monkey story got my attention because it was bulleted underneath a larger headline of "Karl Rove heckled and pelted on college campus" leading me to believe that Karl Rove was "heckled and pelted" on a "Mexico City college campus" by a "Curious George gone bananas." USA Today needs to be a little more careful about spacing, bulleting, bolding and underlining when it comes to grouping its headlines.

Good vs. Bad Headlines

Good One: How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War

This particular headline came from the Washington Post. I think its appropriate and useful for screening the content of the article that accompanies it. The wording is quite mysterious in nature and vague yet clear enough to give you an idea of what they may be talking about. THe use of the word "Bogus" invokes a sense of blundering on the part of the parties involved, that makes me wonder "Who's the dummy?" I think that is exactly what the headline writers want you to think, which would suppose that it is a little biased. The headline is almost formed in a question but moves towards a declarative statement that says, "Here, let me show you what the Iraq war was based on..." The headline is the perfect prelude to a controversial and highly political topic that could serve to anger and fulfill the public's idea of the Iraq war. YOu know immediately when you read this headline that you are in for a story.

Bad One:
Kid-challenged alleged carjacker caught

I had to read this headline several times before understanding what "kid-challenged" meant in describing the carjacker. There are too many adjectives to try to describe the criminal and it never makes light of the fact that a 6-year old Miami girl inside the carjacked vehicle stopped this guy by swinging her bookbag to hit him. Kid-challenged could mean the carjacker doesn't like kids, or was challenged mentally as a child, or I don't even know. The whole structure of this headline tells me nothing about the story, which is actually pretty incredible. This was a UPI story that appeared in the Jackson News Online. The little girl and her family were invited by Ellen DeGeneres to the show and presented with a new car after the carjacker totaled theirs. A great story was overshadowed by a terrible headline.

4.03.2007

Rachel Mauro- Headlines

Good Headline

Foreign-Owned Hotels Invite Tokyo to Taste Luxury Anew

(The Washington Post, April 3, 2007)

I think this is foremost a good headline because it is intriguing. My own bias is to assume that hotels bring foreign luxuries to tourists, not that foreign hotels bring luxuries to cities where, apparently, the hotels aren’t indigenous. What sort of “new luxury” could Tokyo be experiencing, a city, after all, which is regarded in the west as luxurious in that it is different than what most of us know? The article immediately gets to the point by describing the “fresh” and “immaculate” d├ęcor of Tokyo’s new Ritz-Carlton hotel. “New luxury” for Tokyo is something, which might be more familiar to American readers—large expensive suites and the like—and “old luxury” like traditional Japanese rooms, acquire new meanings in this article. I believe the headline does a good job of summarizing the feel and drawing the reader in by intrigue.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/02/AR2007040201679.html

Not So Good Headline

'Something went drastically wrong': 20 die in plane crash

(USA Today, December 20, 2005)

My main problem with this headline is that it is not descriptive. Plane crashes, especially fatal ones, can usually be attributed to something going “drastically wrong,” (and if that’s not the case, then that’s the story, even in a post Sept. 11 America.) Though at the time the article was written, little was known about the crash, the headline could have centered on the fact that the aircraft was a vintage propeller driven seaplane or that it actually flew regularly before it’s demise, or more specific to the crash, witnesses on the Miami beach saw what they perceived to be smoke and an explosion before a wing fell off and the plane ultimately went into the sea. Descriptors like this would make this plane and this crash unique, rather than one of hundreds or thousands of unfortunate aircraft malfunctions and deaths.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-12-19-seaplane-crash_x.htm

Headlines

I found the headline, "Doggie yoga leaves pets twisted but relaxed" from CNN.Com to be quite good. First of all, the story immediately caught my eye. The subject matter of the article is certainly unusual, but the headline allows the site user to understand what will follow. The headline follows good subject-verb structure and involves some cuteness without too much.

The headline I found to be "not so adept" is one that I found on the Web site of the television stations in my hometown, Scranton, Pennsylvania. The headline reads: Too Much T-B Testing? (You can click the link for the story.) Basically, the story is about how a local school has decided to pay for all students to be tested for T-B. However, the Department of Health is unsure if the tests are necessary. I think the headline immediately creates a story biased toward the stance of the health department. The question format is not effective. In addition, the headline is unclear, and makes no mention of whom is being tested, or where the tests are taking place. Instead, I think a headline like: T-B Tests in Scranton School May Be Unnecessary.

Thanks,
Adena

Good/Bad Headlines

In my opinion, the Baltimore Sun article titled “His Head’s Way Above Water” is a good headline. This headline is clever in describing Baltimore’s Michael Phelps’ consecutive wins in the swimming World Championships in Australia. In addition, the headline does not give away the story and intrigues the reader into wanting to read the article. This headline/article can be found at.... http://www.baltimoresun.com/extras/news/printedition/SunFrontPage.pdf

However, in my opinion, the Baltimore Sun article titled ‘Driving While Texting' is a no-so-adept headline. The story following this headline discusses the dangers of cell phone texting while driving a car. Much of the public is aware that texting while driving is dangerous and causes many car accidents. Thus, I believe the headline for this article could have been more discrete and not totally give away the story. I would think readers glancing over this headline would not be curious as to what lies behind it and ignore the story completely. This headline/article can be found at...
http://www.baltimoresun.com/extras/news/printedition/FriFrontPage.pdf


Thanks,

Laura