A gift of a story for the sub-editor generates another classic naughty headline, this time courtesy of WYFF4 television station in South Carolina (via Common Sense Journalism). Did this make the TV news too? Would love to have seen the anchor deliver the line.
Starting to gather quite a collection of rude heads – see Top 10 rudest headlines in the world ever, possibly from the hyperbolic list era of 2008, and some more recent headline funnies.
Fantastic! Can’t believe I missed this one but I shall belatedly add this to my list of naughtiest headlines. Did the sub know? Or is it a classic blooper? It’s been fixed for the online edition but the lovely internet has already archived a scan of it and sent it around the world. (It was sent to me by an Aussie journalist friend who saw it in The Australian.)
Reminds me of the time I left a reporter’s headline on a music review and got roundly told off on delivery day for ‘Sweet folk all’. You can read the story of that in my post on the Top 10 rudest headlines in the world ever, possibly.
This super pun headline worthy of the tabloids is actually from Reuters and headlines the Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix beating former world champ Tyson Gay in a 200m race last week. Thank goodness, Dix didn’t come from behind and there wasn’t a final Gay spurt is all I’m saying.
- Make the title or headline of your post specific – it lets your reader know what to expect BEFORE they click.
- Don’t promise something you are not going to deliver as this will result in a broken experience and an annoyed reader.
- Resist the hilarious pun – it most likely won’t make any sense out of context.
- Include both first and last names if a person is the subject of your post – this is better for SEO (see previous post on SEO for writers).
- Think mobile. Many people now read content on their phone or in an RSS reader, so they may only see the first few words (40-60 characters). Based on that, they will decide whether to click through and read on – or not. The trick is to be plain, include your keyword/s and also be as enticing as possible, which is not that easy. Oh and don’t write a headline that is dependent on an accompanying image/video – these don’t always appear on portable devices.
[FYI: Last year I wrote a Blogger’s Style Guide to help people in the organisations I was working for start writing posts and publishing them on the company blog. Many had never written anything beyond an email before but they did know their subject far better than I, so they just needed a good briefing in style, tone, structure and so on. This is that starter kit for company bloggers, consisting of 10 mini-posts in all.]
Bit of fun after recent rantings. Headlines include, the ridiculous:
Alton Attorney Accidentally Sues Himself
Chicken with artifical legs dies a hero
and the intriguiing:
Hairdo kills mum
For the full list, go here.
You can publish then edit all you like but, beware, the original may still be ‘out there’ – and there are people willing to spot it, tweet it, snap it, blog it and generally announce it to the world. Like this one from Tom Ackroyd who took a snapshot of a 3News headline typo tonight (since corrected) and uploaded it to Twitpic before tweeting me:
Too heavy for the stalk: newborn weighs in at 6.4kg
Beauty. It makes me think fondly of all those job adverts for sub-editors asking for the ‘ability to spot a literal at 50 paces’.
Even funnier is that the original 50-pace typo spotter uknzguy has pointed out that the error has been immortalised in the URL.
Note to self: check my permalinks! Thank Buddha, there’s an edit function in WordPress for just this kind of cock-up.