A blog for students in Chris Harvey's multimedia journalism classes at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism
Good and Bad Headlines
In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Their Past Use http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22detain.html?_r=1&hp
This headline in the New York Times is in my opinion not a very good one. The headline is rather vague and from just reading that there is indication of the real subject of the story. Harsh tactics are some of the story, but there is not enough information to explain what it is in reference to. The actual article is about how several years ago legislation was passed allowing military training techniques to be used as interrogation methods. I feel like the headline gives you no real idea of what you're about to get into in the article.
I thought this headline was a good headline because you had a good subject-verb agreement and you know exactly what happened. Just from reading the headline you can assume that the article is going to explain what happened during the Pentagon commander's visit to Afghanistan. It sets you up, if briefly, for the story.
Chris Harvey is a multimedia teacher at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the director of (curriculum) assessments. She also directs the graduate multimedia certificate program. She's worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and wire service editor, before finding her current niche after working as a Web editor at washingtonpost.com.