Sunday, January 16, 2011


1. “Traveling homeless man shares his message, story”
From The Gainesville Sun

This headline, unlike the previous headline, is accurate, but it doesn’t have enough flair. This guy’s story is pretty amazing. He quit his job at JPMorgan in 2009, sold everything he had, bought a van and now travels around the country with the homeless. I don’t think this headline does the story justice. This story needs a headline that really grabs the reader in and makes them want to hear more about this man. Also, I think including both “message” and “story” is a waste of valuable space, space that could be used for more colorful language.

“A man without a home gives hope to local residents”

This may be too corny or mushy, but I figured this is a better portrayal of what the story is really about. This man has no home, but he seems to have an amazing outlook on life and more hope than most people who have everything. I like this headline because it catches the reader off-guard by saying a homeless man is giving other people hope.

2. “Arctic chill to hang around”
From The Gainesville Sun

This headline appeared on the front page of Friday’s edition of the Campus Sun. At the bottom of the story, there is a 6-day forecast for temperatures. I would rewrite this headline because I do not think it is accurate. In the 6-day forecast, the temperature increases from a low of 25 degrees to a low of 56 degrees. In my opinion, 56 degrees does not define an “arctic chill.” The story says that it will be cold for “one or two more nights.” In my mind, “hanging around” implies that it will be around for longer than a couple days.

“Temperatures looking up”

The challenge with this headline is that there really is not much room at all to be creative, so I had to write very straightforward. However, even though there is not much color, the headline is accurate, which in my mind is the No. 1 priority for a headline. No matter how beautifully a headline is written, if it is inaccurate, it’s worthless.

3. “Goofy Challenge just a walk in the park for Parkland couple at Disney”
In The Orlando Sentinel

This headline jumped out at me because it relies on a cliché, “a walk in the park.” One of my biggest pet peeves in headline writing is the use of clichés. It’s just plain lazy, unless you can somehow come up with a way to tweak it in a smart, fresh way. I understand what the editor was trying to do here, with the word “park” (considering Disney is a theme park), but it could have been done better.

“For one couple, Goofy Challenge is just another 40-mile walk in the theme park”

1 comment:

  1. Good examples of rewriting "meeting held" leads with explicitness / of headlines that do not support text / and not comment on cliches. This also applies worn-out puns. If you want to use them, come at them askew in what you describe as a tweak.