HEADLINES. part II

18 Apr

HEADLINES ARE IMPORTANT ELEMENTS ON A PAGE

A headline is basically a short sentence capsulizing the story for the reader. It must be accurate and concise and get to the point immediately. Accuracy is the most important requirement. A publication can be sued for a libelous headline as well as for a libelous story. Most readers believe that reporters write headlines. They do not. Copy editors write them. In addition to an inaccurate headline’s hurting the publication’s credibility, it damages the reporter’s reputation. Further, an inaccurate headline can cause a reporter or a photographer to lose access to an important source. The headline also must:

  • . Cupture the reader’s attention
  • .Summarize the story
  • .Indicate the overall tone of the publication
  • .Depict the mood of the story
  • .Add to the attractiveness of the page
  • .Grade, or rank, the story

Because reading newspapers is a voluntary experience, anything that makes the reading difficult should be avoided to quickly test the look of the headlines, the designer can hold the completed page upside down or at a cross-angle upside down so that the top of  the page becomes the bottom, and then  view it from a few feet away. This causes the eye to focus on any unattractive white or ashen grey places, if they exist. If the page is attractively designed, it will be strong whether right side up or upside down.

The task of grade the news always brings up related concerns as the editor and designer are faced with how to chronicle accurately the day’s or week’s events. While headlines should call attention to why stories are being published and why they are worthy of being read, theprimmary purpose of the newspaper – the news itself-will not be enhanced by important-liking headlines, but only by stories that are well written and tightly edited.

Therefore, in addition to the responsibility of writing accurate headlines or seeing that they are written and placed with the stories, the news editor and designer must avoid create a beautifully designed newspaper that has few-if any-interesting stories. Newspapers published with numerous pages of ”fluff” might as well set the  alphabet in type as many times as necessary to represent each story and add black cutouts to designed photos-for the amount of readership that he paper will  receive.

However, it is certainly possible that a newspaper staff may booing its best and that still, for any given issue or edition, there are no significant stories to publish. It nay is a slow day-or week. In such cases, using a headline schedule based solely on a story’s value or impact on the reader becomes impossible.

 The headline is an integral element of the newspaper page. It directs the reader to the significant aspect of a story. As all page parts relate to another in the Total Page Concept, the headline is not just a label on a story, an identifier or an index. Headlines are so important that even a picture story page is not complete without at least one. Designed to complement each other in size and styling, headlines give definition to landscape of the newspaper page.

While advertisement and story art are the first elements that grab attention, the reader also reacts to headline typography before reading the story.

The headline must describe the story accurately; otherwise, the effort of the writer is lost on the reader. It is particularly important that, while developing a headline that will fit, editors be careful not to write a “cute” headline that then needs to be qualified with subheads.

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