The headline I found was in the Fresno Bee on Tuesday, Dec. 1. It says “Lots on the line.”
The story is about car dealerships and how they might be affected by the Big 3 faltering, but the headline alone doesn’t make that clear. It was pretty easy to understand once I saw a photo of a car lot, but without the photo it’s a vague headline, so it wouldn’t work online.
If I were to run the story online, the headline might say “Car dealerships could suffer with Big 3” or something along those lines. It has key words and doesn’t rely on any accompanying art to convey what the story is about.
“Teaming up on security”
Dec. 2 2008
This was a story about Barack Obama announcing his national security team, with a lot of focus being placed on Hillary Clinton. The story has a big photo of Obama and Clinton with their arms around each other, so on the page it’s pretty obvious what the story is about, but if you just saw the headline online without the photo you’d have no idea what the story was about. Something like “Obama and Clinton team up on national security” would be a lot more informative to the reader because it has the names of the two main people in the story right at the front, and the headline gets to stay pretty much the same as it was before.
“A Familiar Place”
December 2, 2008
This was the headline for a story about the Nebraska volleyball team having the home court advantage for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The story was paired with a picture of the team celebrating a point at the Coliseum earlier this season. With the picture as well as a subhead (“With home court advantage and another high tournament seed, the Huskers are once again widely expected to contend for a national championship”), the headline makes sense and the reader could very easily figure out what the story is about. This, however, would not work on the Web. A headline for this story that could work for the Web might read, “No. 4 Husker volleyball team to host first rounds of NCAA Tournament.” This will tell the Internet reader exactly what the story is about without the help of a picture or a subhead. It also has the key words of “Husker,” “volleyball,” “host” and “NCAA Tournament.”
“Alarm was raised”
Dec. 2, 2008
This article is about the economy and the bush administration backing off no-money-down, interest-only mortgages. It would not work for online because readers wouldn’t have a clue what the article is about, and the headline would be completely off the radar for search engines. The deck head: U.S. eased loan rules despite warning two years ago, would actually be better for online than the main head. It’s loaded in the front and includes the following key words: U.S., loan, rules and warning. If I were to rewrite this for the web, I would do something similar to the deck head but maybe slip in the word “mortgage” somehow.
“Better safe than snatched
Keep your wits and purse”
Dec. 2 2008
This article was about a woman who had her purse stolen. It also covered the different ways to avoid ending up in the same situation as this woman. I liked the play on words in the headline. There was a pun in each line. However, no one would search the words “snatched” or “wits” if they wanted to find an article about this. The article is also supposed to be useful to women in Omaha, but the word Omaha is not in the heading. I would change it to include the city name and more common words. “Omaha purse thefts can be avoided” would work. I think it’s very important to tie in the city, the problem and the solutions in the headline.
Lincoln Journal Star
Dec. 2, 2008
This was the headline on the sports page for an article about how the Nebraska football team is basically a lock to be invited to play in the Gator Bowl, although an official announcement won’t come until later this week. But for the numerous Husker football junkies searching Google to find where the Huskers will play, this headline would not draw a lot of results. I would rewrite it for the web: “Huskers expect Gator Bowl invitation this week.” “Huskers” is obviously the key word and “bowl” is the other because most Google searches would be something like “Husker football bowl game.”
“You and your favorite foods: Freshly Squeezed”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Dec. 2, 2008
This was the headline/art head for a story on how food companies have been shrinking food packages without consumers knowing. This headline was accompanied with a photo illustration of a squeezed Tropicana orange juice bottle, so the whole package worked well together. However, without the illustration and the deck head (“Food companies have been quietly shrinking packages, giving shoppers less for their money. Consumers are beginning to take note), the headline doesn’t make sense. To make more sense for the Web, I would change the headline to say something like “Consumers starting to notice shrinking food packages.” While it’s not as creative as the print version, it gets the message across of what the story’s about.
“Caught red-handed: Shoplifting reports behind 2007’s pace”
Dec. 1, 2008
This story focused on shoplifting crimes in Lincoln stores. A policer officer cited several incidents from around the year. As Christmas quickly approaches, stores are cracking down on shoplifters. However, Lincoln Police Officer Ken Bauer said there have been fewer shoplifing calls than last year. The headline is cute and is shown with a hand (looking like it is going to pick something up). Therefore, it is easy to tell what the story is about. For the web, this obviously would not work because readers don’t see the graphic. I would change this headline to “Lincoln shoplifting down in 2008.”
I think most of the headlines in the Business section of newspapers would not work on the web. Most of the stories are about businesses or professions and the headlines don’t always spell out which business the story is about because it normally becomes apparent in the lead sentence.
Today, one of the headlines in the business section of The New York Times is “Contrite Over Misstep, Auto Chiefs Take to the Road.”
The story was about how general motors chairman will drive a hybrid to Congress and present the companies bailout plan. The last time he went to Congress, a congressman made a quip about him flying their in a private jet.
If this story were posted online, it would be better to go with this headline:
GM’s Bailout plan will be Presented by Chairman after Drive.
This way, people searching for general motor’s or bailout plan would get a hit.
“State 48th in college affordability”
The Birmingham News
This story was on how Alabama ranks on the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s report card for higher education. For people looking to find this information online, this headline definitely doesn’t translant well to the web. The word state won’t really take you to anything specific. A good idea for a web headline for this story would be something like “Alabama 48th in college affordability.” Google would definitely recognize the specific state name and it would rank the story much higher in search results.
“To Have And to Hold”
Dec. 2, 2008
This headline goes with a story about giving cell phones as gifts for the holidays and the meaning behind giving cell phones as a present, whether to a family member or significant other. The headline goes well with the art, which is a photo illustration of someone opening a box that would appear to have an expensive necklace or other piece of jewelry inside, but instead, there is a cell phone inside the box. I think I would rewrite this headline to say “Cell phones as holiday gifts can be tricky.”
*I tried to post this earlier, at about 12:00, but for some reason it must not have gone through, so I’m redoing it*
“Early Deep Thinking”
This is just a terrible headline, period. It doesn’t tell you anything about the story and it’s borderline nonsensical. It certainly wouldn’t work on the web. The story is about a new elementary school baccaulaureate program at Aldrich Elementary in Omaha. A better headline for the web might have been “Aldrich’s Baccaulaureate program unique to Nebraska.” That include three key words: “Aldrich,” “Baccaulaureate,” and “Nebraska,” two of which are right at the beginning.
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