ProPublica Podcast: Headline Writing with an NYT Guru

Screenshot 2015-06-22 12.06.02Check out this great podcast on headline writing in the digital age from ProPublica.

Highlights:

  • The ways online news has changed headline writing. (11:57)

 

How headlines are written and approved at The Times. “The essence is the key, and the tone is the

key.

” Massey says, noting the “restrained tone,” that is The Times’ hallmark. “It’s not ‘bloodbath,’ and

‘thugs,’

” he says. (2:16)

 

The Times’ well-documented “fondness, or maybe even overuse” of headlines beginning with a prepositional phrase, which spawned the #nytbooks hashtag on Twitter in 2012. (4:50)

 

Massey’s background, from his start as a sportswriter at the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Arkansas. (6:58)

 

Tips for writing clear, engaging headlines: “You have to write the headline on the story that’s there,” Massey says. “You can’t, sort of, write the headline on the story you wish were there.” (15:47)