Saturday, July 04, 2009

Why we are the headline act*

LIKE A lot of journalists I know a little about a lot of things but not much about anything.
That’s why I’d struggle on Mastermind as I wouldn’t have a clue what to do in the specialist round.
If pushed, though, I’d probably do ‘Headline Writing’ if John Humphrys and the gang would allow it. I’ve been writing headlines for more than 30 years and still get a thrill when those words leap off the page enticing the reader into the story thanks to our skill and creativity.
I’ve been impressing on all or subs here how important it is to tell the story and not present the reader with a cryptic crossword puzzle clue or something that’s there just to show off to your mates.
They’ve responded with gusto, telling it how it is all the way from Folkestone to Leatherhead. Witness:
Man took dead
friend’s money

here in the Essex Chronicle.

Give me that any day as opposed to the convoluted old tosh that appears daily in the national tabloids, such as these in today’s Sun:
Potter plotter is
hotter to trotter

and
I was blind, bite
now I can see...

No, I’ve no idea what they mean either.

But outright winner is from our Whitstable Times:
Seagull flew
off with cat

How could you not read that story?
And the headline score so far is: Us 2, Them 0

*Yes, I know it's not that straightforward, but we all like to show off sometimes...

5 Comments:

Anonymous Paul Gilham said...

In a handy demonstration of headlines' power, the seagull story was the subject of a five-minute comedy routine on prime-time Radio 4 yesterday. Somehow, I rather doubt it would have been afforded such attention if the story had not been made so immediately accessible.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your quote that: 'I've been impressing on all or subs here' - No chance of getting on Mastermind with bad grammar!! Mr Humphrys might have asked: 'Don't you mean 'our subs' and not 'or subs'????.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Specialist subject?? Spelling??

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You appear not to be bothered to reply to a loyal reader of your newspaper!!

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well??

7:22 PM  

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