Writing headlines

By | June 20, 2007

Sometimes when you read the headlines in the news, you probably cannot help but suppress a giggle.

Consider these:
“Tiger’s wife gives birth to a daughter” – The Associated Press
“Tiger’s new cub is a baby girl” – Independent Online

The problem with the above is that they assume their audience is familiar with Tiger Woods (and the fact that his wife was about to give birth). But what if the reader is not interested in golf, or even anything remotely related to sports? To the uninitiated, the above headlines might sound like an animal in the zoo had just given birth to a human baby (made worse by the word “cub” in the Independent Online version).

The lesson here is that if you’re writing a headline for a general audience, make sure it cannot be interpreted any other way. And try to avoid being too creative, or it may backfire.

Below is a better example:
“Tiger Woods’ wife gives birth to first child” – Reuters

Right?

Related posts:
I could have written that!
Polluted? Convoluted!

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