Good and Bad Headlines

Friends, a few thoughts after reading your in-class headline writing assignment:

* Avoid jargon in headlines (and story leads). Jargon includes unfamiliar acronyms and often very specific numbers (such as 232).
* Follow a consistent style. Don't uppercase some words and lowercase others (except for the short articles and prepositions).
* Don't use double quotation marks in heads. Use single quotation marks to highlight a partial quote (do this sparingly!) or to use a word in an unfamiliar way.
* Try to follow the subject-verb-object structure for most news headlines; try to write in present tense and active voice.
* With Web headlines, remember search engine optimization (SEO). Include terms likely to be used to search for a story, unless it's a strain to do so.
* Make sure the mood of your headline matches the mood of the story. Don't put a flip headline on a serious story.

Good examples from your work; remember, you were restricted to a character count of 50:

STORY 1: On a data analysis showing 75 percent of all Maryland murders during the last two decades were concentrated in Baltimore City and Prince George's County:
* Baltimore City, Pr. George's see grim murder stats
* Murders plague Baltimore City, Pr. George's County
* Baltimore and Pr. George's Murder Hubs of State

STORY 2: On an Anacostia Garden Club's mini cherry blossom celebration, amid the city's larger festival. The celebration helped highlight some of the positive change and growth in the historic but often neglected part of the nation's capital.
* Anacostia Blooms Along With Its Cherry Blossoms
* Citizens Work to Grow Historic Anacostia
* Cherry Trees Bring Attention to Anacostia Growth

STORY 3: On the changing face of the English Speakers of Other Languages Program in Maryland. A program once thought of as a service primarily for Spanish-speakers now helps Maryland students speaking more than 230 languages. The expansion of the program reflects the state's increasing diversity.
* Language program reflects state's diversity
* ESOL Programs Cater to Changing Md. Demographics (as an editor, you'd have to decide if this acronym is familiar enough to use in a head)

STORY 4: A feature on the annual tobacco auction in Maryland -- highlighting that it could be the state's last, as Maryland farmers have been encouraged by government buyout programs to switch to other crops.
* Tobacco auction could be Maryland's last
* Md. Farmers May Bid Farewell to Tobacco Auction
* Growing Tobacco a Dying Tradition in Md.
* Md. Tobacco Farming a Dying Trade after 300 Years

If you follow the links to the stories, you'll see that some of your heads were better than those hastily put on by faculty editors!