Wave your wand, get a great headline

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

There’s a certain art to writing headlines.

A headline’s main job is to make the readers want more – more of the story, more of the gory details, more, more, more, more.

Here at The Star-News, we’ve had several good ones – the one about a “talking, levitating cat defense” comes to mind. We had another good one in the Tuesday paper. It stated, “Councilman wants wands for Opp City Hall.” It immediately brought to mind visions of fairy dust and three wishes. Turns out, the council wants to increase security and use the “wands” to scan people entering city hall for weapons. I had to read the story to find that out. Great job, headline! Mission accomplished.

The last several days, we’ve been bombarded by sad headlines, the majority of which described the murder and mayhem around the nation, including the Boston Marathon bombings.

Today, I’m going to lighten the mood and honor my oldest daughter’s request to “lay off writing about us, Mom. It’s so embarrassing.” I scoured the Internet for some of the best headlines published over the years. Here, you go. Enjoy.

• “Headless body in topless bar.” It’s an oldie, but goodie. Don’t you know that editor cried with joy when that story was placed on the desk?

• “Banana appeals against sodomy conviction.” From Internet news overseas somewhere, I know some readers think that one might be in poor taste, but I couldn’t resist. Think about it.

• “Include Your Children When Baking Cookies.” Now, wouldn’t that be gross, not to mention illegal?

• “Alton attorney accidentally sues himself.” I have no explanation for that one.

• “County to pay $250,000 to advertise lack of funds.” Now that’s a “do what?” if I’ve ever heard one.

• “Volunteers search for Civil War planes.” I’m dying to know how that worked out for them.

• “Army vehicle disappears.” While there’s nothing out of the ordinary about that one, it’s the lead that gets you: “An Australian Army vehicle worth $74,000 has gone missing after being painted with camouflage.” Ha!

• DOE to do NEPA’s EIS on BNFL’s AMWTP at INEEL after SRA protest. I’m still trying to decipher that one.

• “Casket found as workers demolish mausoleum.” But, it gets better. The subhead, which is the smaller headline under the headline reads, “We had no idea anyone was buried there.” Really? Who knew there would be people buried in a casket in a graveyard?

• “Waterford boy, 8, saves sister’s life; ‘I wouldn’t do it again. She’s been a pain this week.’

Here’s to hoping your week is great.