Writing Headlines In A Newspaper


Writing headlines, it has been said, is easy. All you have to do is make them accurate, fair, clear, precise, punchy, thoughtful, inviting, relevant, urgent and readable and do it in half a dozen words, often in three or four minutes. Obviously, that’s stretching the point. The truth is, headline writing is often the most difficult and demanding part of a copy editor’s job. What a reporter said in 30 words or more in a lead, a headline writer might have to say in six words or less. But it can be done. It requires skill and a command of the language. Most of all, it requires imagination.

In this age of short attention spans, if a story has to exert a pull on the reader it has to have a catchy headline.  Headline is like a signpost that directs the reader to the story. It also determines the number of the people who go through the story. The role of headlines in making a story striking has always been a very important subject matter among the editorial staff. Giving attractive headlines to a story is an art. By writing headlines, a story can be made or dented. An improper headline, which lacks clarity, may deprive the story the importance and readership that it deserves. In a headline the main objective is to convey the maximum meaning using minimum words.

Headlines should not only be indicative of what story is all about but also convey the significance of the story. A headline is defined as a line or collection of lines of display type that precedes a story and summarizes it or introduces it. A good headline should be able to attract the attention of a casual reader as well. A headline should speak out and stimulate the reader. The main problem is that telegraphic words are used to put the maximum meaning in a very short space, because the area that a headline can occupy is very limited and the short headline must also convey a complete sense.


The main function of the headline is to index the news and attract the reader. It should also convey the relative significance and seriousness of the story to the hurried reader. It should supplement the display package of the newspaper with its attractive presentation. Another function of the headlines is to lend the character and stability to newspaper. The consistent use of familiar types and style of headlining gives a newspapers’ unswerving look that its readers identify. Headline is one of the significance cues used in the newspapers. Sometimes, the number of columns the headline is spread across and the font type and size used, determine the significance of a story.

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headline , newspaper


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