Saturday, July 17, 2010

[Insert Witticism Here]

Gene Weingarten at the Washington Post mourns the death of clever headlines.
The only really creative opportunity copy editors had was writing headlines, and they took it seriously. This gave the American press some brilliant and memorable moments...[but now] on the Web, headlines aren't designed to catch readers' eyes. They are designed for "search engine optimization," meaning that readers who are looking for information about something will find the story, giving the newspaper a coveted "eyeball."
Here's a great time to do a little cost-benefit analysis. The cost of more online news sources is that consumers lose cute phrases as news outlets compete for attention. Meanwhile copy editors don't get to use their degree in English literature to write a few dozen of those phrases everyday. The benefit is that millions of people have an infinitely easier time find the information they want from sources all over the world. And if they still want a clever phrase with a picture, they can search for that, too. Do we even have to run the numbers?

I got a headline for you: Journalist Once Again Screws Up Basic Economics. Oh wait, that's not news.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Definitely a good point on the cost-benefit analysis. Though I think the author is being too pessimistic that clever headlines will go away. The Internet provides a venue for Collections of Funny Headlines, including my personal favorite "Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo"