Monday, August 22, 2005

Headline writing

The public editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Pam Platt, has a column on headline writing. She explains the craft and talks about the difficulties copy editors face.

An interesting aside: She counted 210 headlines that had to be written for Friday's paper. (That seemed high at first blush, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how quickly the numbers add up. I counted 79 headlines -- not including decks -- in today's A section of the Dallas Morning News. And there's* four more sections to go.)

Platt addresses some complaints she's received. And what makes this article different from others I've read is that she sent the complaints to John McIntyre, AME for copy desks at the Baltimore Sun, to see what he thinks.

The paper has a separate Q and A with McIntyre on what makes writing headlines so difficult. He gives some advice (which includes avoiding "wretched, obvious wordplay") and gives his favorite and least favorite headline (regular Capital Idea readers should be familiar with both).


At 1:05 PM, August 22, 2005, Anonymous Jersey Justice said...

How about making it "...and there ARE [sted THERE'S] four more sections to go."

At 7:17 PM, August 22, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

How about making your criticism civilly? Puh-leeze, indeed!

At 9:26 PM, August 22, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

Thanks for sticking up for me, Nick. :)

You're right, it should be "there are." I make this mistake almost every time I have the opportunity to; I'll occasionally catch it when I'm editing my own writing. I almost always catch it in other people's work.

I'll just leave it as is, with these comments intact. We'll call it an extra grammar lesson for the day.


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