Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's important to write good headlines meow

 Without question, headline writing is the most difficult aspect of journalism. Good headlines are the hook that lures readers to generate that precious click -- a click that means money.

Headline writers need to be on top of the ever-changing landscape of journalism.  Social media has changed the game and the tip suggesting a headline “be specific” helps in that arena. I pride myself on my headlines, warranted or not. As I discussed in class, my most recent opinion column titled, “Poetry saved my life” is short and to the point, but elusive enough to get the reader to generate that  click. Headline writing is something I’ve toyed with in the field for years. I understand how good headlines guide traffic and I’ve been successful in doing so many times. Don’t worry, this bit of egotism is not without it’s humility, I’ve written headlines I’m not entirely fond of, such as: “Music on the Spot: StreetLighters strike up heartbreak ‘In Between Three and Four.” This headline is not only way too long, but it also showcases my unhealthy need need to always be punny. I tried to incorporate the album title in the headline, but it just comes of as a stretch. I’ve been told that puns are a bit pass√© these days, but I still insist on using them.

My editing lesson this week comes in the form of a prank. I love the way this hockey player deliberately replaces the word "now" with "meow" (shout-out to Super Troopers) and the reporter seems none-the-wiser. This is an important and hilarious lesson in the fragility of our language. This also poses an interesting question to reporters looking for a quote: How would you quote this?


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