Headline Writers Can’t Read

by Roger Pynn

I’m convinced that today’s headline writers can’t read … or, at least, they don’t read the stories they are attempting to illustrate.

When I was in the newspaper business, I marveled at the work of folks on the copy desk whose job it was to narrow down what I had written into two or three lines stacked atop my story.

Yes, that was back in the days of “hot type,” and they actually had to count the width of each letter in picas to make it fit into the column. It was an art form. Copy editors were supposed to draw in the reader with enough information to tell them what the story was about. And, oh yes, they were supposed to be accurate.

Today they write for Internet consumption and clicks with headlines like this:

“Girl nearly kidnapped in College Park.”

Got my attention.

Made me click.

Didn’t tell me the story (which, by the way, was actually a story about a competitor website reporting an incident) at all.

In fact, the headline should have read:

“Girl runs into drugstore.”

4 Responses to Headline Writers Can’t Read

  1. Grant says:

    Great post and so true. And so frustrating!

  2. Nancy Curry says:

    So true! I fell for it, too. 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    Just found this blog. Love it. What fun.

  4. Sara — We’re so glad to have you here. Thanks for reading!

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