I guess I should start this by explaining how, in the inaugural weeks of my blog and with no prior postings under this heading, this manages to be my 7th irreverent headline.
During my Dow Jones residency we were visited by numerous important newspaper people, of varying positions and papers, including a New York Times participant who schooled us in headline writing.
Our lesson from this man consisted of laying out a front page and writing filler headlines. Most people chose to take the headline-writing seriously, as we’d had little practice with them up to that point. I am not most people and therefore wrote mock headlines instead.
As NYT walked down the line of our front pages, he paused at mine and read the following: Uh oh! He got a really big owie (under a picture of an injured soldier being dragged away…which, I should explain, was not an actual injured soldier, but an Army exercise); Man, a lot of stuff is on fireeeeee! People upset about the flames; Obama totes parties with daughter, confetti flies; and a few other gems.
NYT then went on to say that the pagination was actually very good–if you ignored the irreverent headlines. Which, in case anyone was curious, is one of the reasons I am now known in our group as “Totes Inapprop.”
While reading through the local stories I ran across a real beauty–a story about 2 carjackers who tried to elude police by throwing “pop” cans at them (my extreme anger at the use of the word “pop” versus “soda” is for another time…).
My tendency toward the irreverent, as NYT so appropriately dubbed it, led me to write the following headline:
Carjackers attempts to elude police fall flat.
My editors loved it. If it weren’t for the fact that the suspects had been hospitalized, it would have gone through. Damn.