Should reporters write headlines? A retraction…

After the recent interesting debate on Twitter started by Joanna Geary of the Birmingham Post, I automatically took the subs’ side, as in: Oi Reporters! No! It’s us subs wot specialise in headline-writing, have the overview of page and picture, and the final angle on the story so leave off, alright!

But I’ve been duly humbled. Have just spent the morning chatting with a long-time friend and ex Fleet Street reporter and editor Terry Pattinson, who revealed he was the reporter behind a classic 1970s headline at the Express – the one where Crystal Palace centre forward Gerry Queen was sent off for violence. The header?

Queen in brawl at Palace

They sold a few thousand extra papers that day.

So… yes. While writers will continue to get uppity that ‘Subs think they’re so *&%^*$* clever…’ (Well duh!) But fair dues, the reporters have their moments. And, freakishly often on mags, the art team, too. One of our lovely designers at Eva magazine, now sadly defunct – the mag not the designer – came up with this top head for a spread of celebs arriving at airports:

The ego has landed

May the best headline win – whoever writes it. I do get annoyed when the job is taken over permanently, though. At certain women’s mags, the editor or even the features department have hogged the headlines. Why? Because although it’s a skill to write them, it’s also one of the best things about the job. So no wonder everyone’s trying to muscle in on the action.

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