carried by the New York Sun over the story of the
assassination of President Lincoln in 1865.
Toward the turn of the century (during the
Spanish-American War), technical improvements and a
circulation war between the Hearst and Pulitzer
newspapers in New York helped speed the adoption of
multicolumn headlines. Important stories were
introduced by screaming headlines (banners) across the
entire page, followed by as many as eight or more
related heads. Sometimes headlines occupied more
space than their stories.
However, by the end of World War I, many editors
began experimenting with headlines that were more
streamlined and more compact. They found the space
they saved could be used more advantageously for news
and advertising especially advertising, which them
as now, paid the bills.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the
functions of the headline.
The modem trend in headlines is toward simplicity.
Most newspapers now use heads that say what has to be
said in a minimum of words. A good headline conveys
the news in a story and the significance and meaning
behind the story. It never implies more and should
not say too much less than what actually appears in
the story. It does not contain misleading suggestions and
it does not leave false impressions.
An easy way to remember the functions of the
headline is through the acronym HEADS:
H - Heralds the days news; tells what is of
E - Entices the reader with essential or interesting
A - Advertises the most important story by size or
placement on the page (the most important stories are
displayed at the top of the page).
D - Dresses up a page with typography; helps male
S - Summarizes the story with a super lead; tells
what the story is about.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recognize the
various types of headline styles.
There are several ways in which you can display
headlines. For style variation, your headlines can beset
in all-caps, caps and lowercase or downstyle. These
methods are covered in the following text.
The all-capital letter headline style is almost extinct.
All-caps heads, while they are easier to write than
others, are the most difficult to read To test this premise,
read the following paragraph:
AS THIS PARAGRAPH DEMONSTRATES, THE
ALL-CAPITAL SETTING IS NEITHER
EFFICIENT FOR THE READER, NOR
PLEASING TO THE EYE. WILLIAM
RANDOLPH HEARST USED TO HAVE KEY
GRAPHS IN HIS EDITORIALS SET ALL-CAPS.
I N S T E A D O F M A K I N G T H E P O I NT
EMPHATICALLY, AS HE INTENDED, SUCH
SETTING ACTUALLY CUT DOWN THE
READERSHIP AND ITS IMPACT.
Even the most patient, attentive and skilled reader
will be blinded by the onslaught of all those capital
letters. By the way, did you spot the typo?
CAPS AND LOWERCASE HEADS
A widely used headline style is the uppercase and
lowercase head In this headline style, all words, other
than articles, conjunctions, and prepositions of fewer
than four (and sometimes five) letters, are set with the
first letter in caps and the others in lowercase.
The down-style head usage has increased in
popularity in recent years. In down-style heads, the first
letter of the first word and the first letter of any proper
noun is set as a cap, and all other letters are lowercase.
Down-style is presented in the way persons are taught
to read and write. The style is visually attractive and
enhances the readability of the line. By design, it lacks
the numerous capital letters in a headline which serve as