Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Bad Headline Writing is Bad

Journalism is an interesting business.  So many talented people write and post content that is absolutely worth reading.  Getting readers can be tough, so writers are always trying to establish their beat as the go-to place for great coverage.  One thing news outlets, both in print and online, like to use as a means of attracting people is a catchy headline.  If someone surfing the internet sees an interesting headline, said person might just click and read.

The bottom line: Exciting, risqué headlines draw in readers, and readers are good.  Sometimes, though, headline writers take things a bit too far.  Consider the following headline, which came out after the Lightning lost the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night:

That would be a fine headline, if it didn't completely twist the coach's words and make it sound like he was upset with Stamkos's performance.  Here are Jon Cooper's actual comments:

“I felt sick for him.  Early in the game, he was feeling it tonight.  You could see, he had his legs moving.  When he rang that one off the crossbar, I just felt for him.  That's just kind of how his series went.  Wasn't for lack of effort.  The kid was trying.”

So, Cooper felt sick for Stamkos.  Stamkos did not leave Cooper feeling sick, or make him sick, or anything like that.  The coach felt for his star player, the same star player who left it all on the ice.  But that headline wouldn't attract clicks, would it?

Bad headline writing is bad.

Thanks for reading.

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