Headline Writing

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Headline Writing

  1. 1. Writing Headlines
  2. 2. What’s A Headline’s Job? Summarize story contents Prioritize stories on a page Entice readers into the text Anchor stories & organize page
  3. 3. Headline Rules Do not use labels except in hammers, kickers, standing heads Use dynamic verbs (avoid is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been unless as helping verb) Use present tense—even for past events
  4. 4. Headline Rules Use infinitive form to talk about future events (to speak) Use numerals Avoid double meanings Use names/abb. only if well known
  5. 5. Headline Rules Don’t use articles (a, an, the) Don’t editorialize (avoid start with a verb) Watch “cute” headlines (rhymes, alliteration etc.) Don’t repeat words in main/secondary headlines
  6. 6. Headline Punctuation substitute comma for and Teachers, students enjoy vacation use a semi-colon to join two related thoughts in headline Students get break; teachers must work
  7. 7. Headline Punctuation do not hyphenate words between lines use single quotes only colons can be used for said Coach: ‘Best year ever’ for team
  8. 8. Special Rules For Multiple Lines Do Not Separate: preposition & its object to District Meet for award show parts of the same verb will run to be held
  9. 9. Special Rules For Multiple Lines Do Not Separate: names that go together (proper nouns) Student Council GCAA staff Adjective & noun it modifies large turnout final deadline
  10. 10. What’s Wrong Here? Students to register for 2014-2015 schedules Seniors won Spirit Fest competition Results of annual MAP test
  11. 11. Headlines add to content three ways: 1) Give spreads a unique personality 2) Add visual variety to the design 3) Prevent monotony in design
  12. 12. Yearbook/Magazine Headlines Should . . . •Pull reader’s attention to copy/spread •Identify specific content of spread w/o using labels •Have information relevant to this year’s specific coverage/concept •Tie in w/action in dominant photo
  13. 13. General Guidelines •Read story/examine pics carefully •Brainstorm for eye-catching words related to story •Use action verbs in present tense •Clever play on words intrigues readers •Emphasize the positive, but tell the truth
  14. 14. Headline Writing Process Step 1: determine design & space Step 2: read entire story Step 3: write short sentence summary Step 4: cut unimportant details, words Step 5: adjust design to fit layout or adjust headline to fit layout
  15. 15. Morrisson, Ill. (UPI)—Something afoul is afoot in this community, where pink flamingo lawn ornaments have become the focus of vigilante vandals. The caper reared its ugly head last week when Bob Audet discovered his six flamingos missing from his yard and a pink ransom note demanding $1 million for their return left in his mailbox. Audet responded by placing $1 million in play money in an envelope in the mailbox. A few days later, four of the kidnapped birds were returned wearing blindfolds. A few blocks away and a few days later, Tammy Patton awoke to find her four flamingo lawn ornaments hanging by the neck from a tree. Patton is offering a $1 reward for the perpetrator’s capture and her son, Police Chief Steve Cohen, said he is hopeful the bounty will flush out a suspect.
  16. 16.    Kidnapped lawn ornaments leave residents baffled Flamingo hunters hunt once more Flamingo kidnapper strikes again
  17. 17.  Traditionally, headlines have used a coding formula for headlines that lists 1. 2. 3.  The column width The point size The number of lines Headlines for news stories usually run on the top of the text. This means wide stories need wide headlines, a narrow story needs a narrow one.
  18. 18.   In a narrow layout, the headline above (330-1) would be rewritten as 1-30-3. Since 5-10 words are optimum for most headlines, narrow stories may need 3-4 lines of headline in order to make sense. Wide headlines can work in a line or two.
  19. 19.  This chart will give you an idea of how many lines usually work best. If a headline is this wide (in columns): Then make it this deep (in lines): 1 2 3 4 5 6 3-4 2-3 1-2 1 1 1
  20. 20. The next slides are some samples of some yearbook, magazine and newspaper headlines

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