My favorite headlines
These are some of my favorite headlines. Many of them won internal newsroom awards and reader compliments. Each was a fun challenge — to fit a pre-fixed space created by the page designer, explain the story accurately and draw the reader’s eye with clever language and wordplays — on deadline, of course.
A preyer takes wing
Ban discussed between puffs
They're hoping to race you to your couch
Glendale mayor takes dim view of neon signs
State officials fight; taxpayers wounded
Doesn't Mother Nature know school's out?
Click-and-dagger: Britain's once secretive spy agency unveils Web site
Hannah over your wallet: Tickets at any price?
A chorus worth repeating
Little putting, less potting
Paid in full, 2 decades late
Ejected from hospitals, patients have no parachute
Diners ask staff to put a cork in it
Leading the wonder years
Voters might swing around the blue collar
Boots on the ground now losing ground
Junk foods, drinks getting expelled
Dogs will finally have a runway
Fact-checking column, PolitiFact
When writing headlines for the fact-checking column, PolitiFact, it was necessary to announce whether or not the statement in question is true, false or somewhere in-between — yet I tried to be clever and eye-catching, to draw readers to the detailed explanations in the column.
Business headlines run the risk of being dry, so word play and eye-catching verbs work well.
Major national news
The challenge in writing headlines for major national news stories is to draw the reader’s attention to the latest news, without copying the same headlines seen online or in other major newspapers. These headlines should strive to capture the essence of what is happening and what it means, as the story unfolds from day to day. Often, a large, banner headline will allow room for just a few, carefully chosen words, augmented by an explanatory deck headline.
Headlines that sum up a stand-alone photo are in a special category. The whole idea is to be catchy, concise and perhaps a bit offbeat — just like these extraordinary photos.
Sometimes, sports stories make front page news, for example, when the Milwaukee Brewers made the MLB playoffs for the first time in decades. I was honored to write the headlines for Page 1A about the playoffs for three days in a row. When sports-related stories are considered general news, headlines must be eye-catching, with enough pizzazz to please sports fans, and enough explanation for readers who don’t follow sports closely to understand what’s happening. The front-page headlines should complement, but not repeat the headlines on accompanying stories in the sports section.
Headlines for a newspaper opinion or investigative column
Writing headlines for a newspaper opinion or investigative column carries a special responsibility because columnists draw strong reader following and feedback, good and bad. Whether the columnist is being humorous, serious or shedding light on questionable actions, he or she wants a headline that accurately sums up the column, yet draws attention. A little cleverness and play on words sometimes works well.
Thanks to her slip, charges don't cling
Because imbibing minds want to know
Brookfield's barber of civility hangs up his comb
Jokes rained like clippings at barbershop
Burn this image in your mind-- then don't pull the trigger
At last, the yellow brick road becomes accessible
Whose face corresponds with the Fonz in the bronze?
Police just can't bake trust with rotten eggs
Are we opening a can of Apple worms at zoo
Should Aldi acquaintance be for naught?