A week ago, a set of headlines from our own website flashed right into my eyes and either left me partially blind and or I lost a sense of direction. But thanks to the authors, they provided me a launch pad for the URN digest, a platform where we read, digest and analyse before we assimilate our own news into our system.
The magical headlines:
“Over 60 Children Drop out of School in Bibia sub county each Term”
“More than 10, 000 People Face Starvation in Budaka”
These headlines reflect a disturbing trend, of verbosity, stretching right from the headlines to the intro and straight into the body of the stories. Some of us are gifted talkers but wait a minute!
Headlines just like the clothing’s we crave for are an impression; a headline is an impression to the story, just like clothing’s is an impression of our personality.
A good headline grabs our reader’s attention just like a good dress or shirt will leave heads turning. “Wow what a nice shirt! Wow what a nice dress” and why not “Wow what a headline?” Headline writing calls for wit, puns, and love for words, it doesn’t call for grammatical correctness.
“The story of headlines begins with the story of the World War 1. When Journalists armed with only pen and Notebook, no phone or internet had to struggle using the telegram to send updates to their editors and all they could do then is send key words, grammar was not a rule, Key words was key, result 20 wounded, not 20 soldiers wounded.
A headline should be a magnet that attracts the reader to your story; it should neither be a sinker, nor a repellant. If readers are not grabbed by the headline, it is likely that they will not look at the content either.
Statistics show that 8 out of 10 people read the headlines, but only two out of 10 read the rest of the story.
- The trick -
3 S Trick: Simple, short, striking words
Accuracy: Accuracy of Words, figures, currencies etc
Magical 8: At most eight words is ideal
Don’t repeat Lede: Don’t give the same lede as the headline
Active not passive voice: Dead Vs Died,
Present tense: Its happening here and now
Read the headline aloud: I do that all the time, and I guess many of you may have noticed that I change the headlines n times, for as long as it rings a beautiful sound when I read aloud.
Allow your Fertile imagination to bloom with PUNS (poetic device meaning play upon words) I play upon words when I think the story needs the midas touch. “Bitter Battle Brews …” “…seal Deadly Dam”
This will be a weekly digest that looks not only at our highs and lows, but also provide a forum for feedback, a bit of petty peeves and what else, oh yea, perhaps tits and bits of this and that.
Welcome to the maiden edition. Comments, additions always welcome!! !