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Attract the Reader With Dynamic Headlines Compiled by Dianne Smith, CJE Alief Hastings High School Houston, Texas August, 1999
A well-written story will go unread if the headline does not grab the reader. Headlines also serve as a graphic element on the page.
Headlines generally consist of two parts, a  primary  and a  secondary.
The primary head is visually more prominent and more important.
The primary head captures the reader’s attention….
And ties into the lead of the story and the subject of the photo.
The secondary headline adds information found in the story.
There are four basic combinations of primary and secondary heads:
1. Hammer 2. Kicker 3. Tripod 4. Wicket
Hammer: A  hammer  consists of one or more lines of primary over one or more lines of secondary. Reign & Rain Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Primary Secondary
Kicker: A  kicker  consists of one line of secondary over one or more lines of primary. Five inches of rain don’t dampen festivities  Reign & Rain Secondary Primary
Tripod: A tripod consists of two or more lines of secondary stacked beside the primary. This is a more graphically challenging design. Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Primary Secondary
Tripod: A tripod consists of two or more lines of secondary stacked beside the primary. This is a more graphically challenging design. Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Primary Secondary
Wicket: A wicket consists of two or more lines of secondary over one or more lines of primary. Secondary Primary ‘ I had spent $45 getting my hair done, and I wasn’t about to ruin it before the dance, so I left the game in the first quarter.’--Jill Smith, Queen Rain & Reign
Checklist Use fact-filled secondary heads and eye-opening primary heads. Use contrasting type styles between primary and secondary heads: bold and ital, for example
Checklist Do not split an infinitive or prepositional phrase from one line to the next. Don’t split a word with a hyphen from one line to the next.
Checklist Do not split a  proper name from one line to another. Don’t split a verb phrase, prepositional phrase or infinitive phrase from one line to another.
Checklist Omit the articles  a, an  and  the. Use numerals rather than spelled out number names Don’t abbreviate unless the readers will understand.
Checklist Avoid passive forms of the verb “to be”. Refer to the Associated Press Style Book if necessary. Consistency of style is important.
Checklist Primary head should be tied to the main photo if there is one. Avoid using the name of the school or mascot in the headlines.
Checklist Avoid stating the obvious. Tell the reader something new. Do not repeat key words from one part of the headline to the other.
Checklist Use literary techniques such as alliteration, puns, satire if appropriate. Quotes make great secondary heads.
Checklist Write in present tense if the event has already happened.  Write in future tense or use infinitive (to + verb) to show that something will happen in the future.
Checklist Main headlines do not necessarily have to have a subject and verb. Secondary headlines should always have a subject and a verb.
The End This presentation will repeat in 10 seconds .

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Headline Writing

  • 1. Attract the Reader With Dynamic Headlines Compiled by Dianne Smith, CJE Alief Hastings High School Houston, Texas August, 1999
  • 2. A well-written story will go unread if the headline does not grab the reader. Headlines also serve as a graphic element on the page.
  • 3. Headlines generally consist of two parts, a primary and a secondary.
  • 4. The primary head is visually more prominent and more important.
  • 5. The primary head captures the reader’s attention….
  • 6. And ties into the lead of the story and the subject of the photo.
  • 7. The secondary headline adds information found in the story.
  • 8. There are four basic combinations of primary and secondary heads:
  • 9. 1. Hammer 2. Kicker 3. Tripod 4. Wicket
  • 10. Hammer: A hammer consists of one or more lines of primary over one or more lines of secondary. Reign & Rain Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Primary Secondary
  • 11. Kicker: A kicker consists of one line of secondary over one or more lines of primary. Five inches of rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Secondary Primary
  • 12. Tripod: A tripod consists of two or more lines of secondary stacked beside the primary. This is a more graphically challenging design. Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Primary Secondary
  • 13. Tripod: A tripod consists of two or more lines of secondary stacked beside the primary. This is a more graphically challenging design. Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Five inches of pouring rain don’t dampen festivities Reign & Rain Primary Secondary
  • 14. Wicket: A wicket consists of two or more lines of secondary over one or more lines of primary. Secondary Primary ‘ I had spent $45 getting my hair done, and I wasn’t about to ruin it before the dance, so I left the game in the first quarter.’--Jill Smith, Queen Rain & Reign
  • 15. Checklist Use fact-filled secondary heads and eye-opening primary heads. Use contrasting type styles between primary and secondary heads: bold and ital, for example
  • 16. Checklist Do not split an infinitive or prepositional phrase from one line to the next. Don’t split a word with a hyphen from one line to the next.
  • 17. Checklist Do not split a proper name from one line to another. Don’t split a verb phrase, prepositional phrase or infinitive phrase from one line to another.
  • 18. Checklist Omit the articles a, an and the. Use numerals rather than spelled out number names Don’t abbreviate unless the readers will understand.
  • 19. Checklist Avoid passive forms of the verb “to be”. Refer to the Associated Press Style Book if necessary. Consistency of style is important.
  • 20. Checklist Primary head should be tied to the main photo if there is one. Avoid using the name of the school or mascot in the headlines.
  • 21. Checklist Avoid stating the obvious. Tell the reader something new. Do not repeat key words from one part of the headline to the other.
  • 22. Checklist Use literary techniques such as alliteration, puns, satire if appropriate. Quotes make great secondary heads.
  • 23. Checklist Write in present tense if the event has already happened. Write in future tense or use infinitive (to + verb) to show that something will happen in the future.
  • 24. Checklist Main headlines do not necessarily have to have a subject and verb. Secondary headlines should always have a subject and a verb.
  • 25. The End This presentation will repeat in 10 seconds .