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Boring Headlines

by on September 12, 2012

Here’s an interesting piece: “Maybe This Is Why Are Failing: Boring Headlines” (The Atlantic).

And here’s a key excerpt:

Boring headlines are just one of many problems afflicting newspapers. Still, they seem symptomatic of a broader attitude that makes much of the content contained in their pages needlessly dull. The writers are often capable of writing better copy. The photographers almost always get more interesting images than make it into print. But the prevailing ethos combines a suicidal insistence on staid neutrality with an aversion to anything provocative even within those bounds.

Please, broadsheet editors, free your staffs to be more interesting! A different feel might cost you a few stodgy longtime readers. But let’s be honest, you’re going to lose them to the grave soon anyway.

Does this writer have a point? Or is he simply telling editors they need to “spice up” their papers (read: sensationalism), in order to sell them?

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One Comment
  1. Though I wish a mere jazzier headline could save the dwindling life of newspapers, I don’t think that could be the only savior at this point. Sure, maybe a headline that demands a little closer attention from readers skimming the front page could attract somewhat of a wider audience, the true reason for newspapers being put on the back-burner is the infinite amount of readily available stories and information online. He has a point, but not quite the solution.
    However, if you were to skim through the headlines of online news articles, you wouldn’t find much pizzazz there either. Magazines have the fortunate flexibility of a captivating article title with just as impacting imagery, but online news also doesn’t dabble in the risky business of headlines very much. On personal blogs or online feature stories you may stumble across a rich headline, but other than that, the online news writers are just as guilty. What readers are often looking for, especially online, is a headline telling them exactly what they are looking to read about; so much of the attraction of news available online is the infinite amount and its convenience. If a reader is searching for a story on a particular subject, they’re likely to click on the link with the headline that closely matches their search, or the words in their search. As adverse as it is, readers are, at times, looking for less creativity and panache in their news and looking for more convenience and deliverance.

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