Thursday November 27, 2014

Headlines are the editor’s job, and subsequent downfall

From This Corner
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Headlines grab attention. That is their function in the newspaper. There is even a cliché in the English language whereby an event of great importance is said to be “making headlines.”

In a community newspaper, editors seldom get the opportunity to write sensational headlines. Usually the best we can do is come up with a play on words and a pun or two in each edition.

Last week was an exception. The evening before deadline for the News-Optimist Wednesday edition a huge warehouse across the street from our office burned and was eventually knocked to the ground. Now that’s headline making news for a change. Not good news, but sensational news.

Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm I created a headline that has offended some readers. For that I apologize. No offense was intended, I was merely carried away by the opportunity to write something splashy.

If you are reading closely, you note the use of “editor” and “I” in the previous paragraphs. A caller who left voice mail to express her offense at the headline asked me to chastise the reporter who wrote the accompanying story for what she called the “title.” I phoned her back, talking to her voice mail, to clarify it is the editor who composes the headlines, not the reporter, so if she needed to beat someone up I was her woman.

That said, I will attempt to predict the impact of my enthusiasm to pump some juice into the newspaper’s headlines before they go to print.

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