Tuesday, November 01, 2005


As a journalist, one of the worries is the headline writer - what will they put on top of the story. Journalists have little control over this, the headline writer is king. In a newsroom, there is usually some "to and fro" but for us freelancers, you never know.

Today, the Washington Post has a headline "Lesbian Minister Defrocked", which I am sure won the bet in the headline writers group at the pub today for the best one liner. While it is is accurate (such headlines usually are), the story itself is much more "mature", shall we say.

My favourite headline of all time comes from Edward Heath's time as Prime Minister. Britain was "at war" (trade war, that is) with Iceland over cod fishing and had the Royal Navy out to seize and capture Icelandic boats fishing in cod filled waters - taking away Britain's fisher livlihood. In a dramatic gesture, Heath flew to the Icelandic capital and tried to work out a deal. The Times ran a headline "Heath Seeks Cod Peace". The image this conjoured up has stayed with me for ever.

Here are some other real headlines from real newspapers - enjoy:

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

Two convicts evade noose, jury hung

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted

Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case

Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents

Iraqi Head Seeks Arms

Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?

Stud Tires Out

Prostitutes Appeal to Pope

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again

British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands

Lung Cancer in Women Mushrooms

Eye Drops off Shelf

Teacher Strikes Idle Kids

Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead

Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim

Shot Off Woman's Leg Helps Nicklaus to 66

Enraged Cow Injures Farmer with Ax

Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

Stolen Painting Found by Tree

Two Soviet Ships Collide, One Dies

Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter

Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years

Never Withhold Herpes Infection from Loved One

Drunken Drivers Paid $1000 in `84

War Dims Hope for Peace

If Strike isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Enfields Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge

Deer Kill 17,000

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy

Arson Suspect is Held in Massachusetts Fire

British Union Finds Dwarfs in Short Supply

Ban On Soliciting Dead in Trotwood

Lansing Residents Can Drop Off Trees

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

New Vaccine May Contain Rabies

Man Minus Ear Waives Hearing

Deaf College Opens Doors to Hearing

Air Head Fired

Steals Clock, Faces Time

Prosecutor Releases Probe into Undersheriff

Old School Pillars are Replaced by Alumni

Bank Drive-in Window Blocked by Board

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Some Pieces of Rock Hudson Sold at Auction

Sex Education Delayed, Teachers Request Training

Include your Children when Baking Cookies

Boys Cause As Many Pregnancies As Girls

Stiff Opposition Expected To Casketless Funeral Plan

Yellow Snow Studied To Test Nutrition

Scientists Note Progress In Herpes Battle; Ear Plugs Recommended

Antique Stripper To Demonstrate Wares At Store

Sadness Is No. 1 Reason Men And Women Cry

Mayor Says D.C. Is Safe Except For Murders

Check With Doctors Before Getting Sick

Neighbors Said Sniper Not Very Neighborly

Court Rules That Being A Jerk Is Not A Crime

Now if you dont think headline writers meet in pubs and compare notes and have bets on who can get the best headline through the system and out on the street, you have never been in a newsroom. When I did book reviews for the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, the crew used to meet up at The Swan and tell stories every Friday afternoon - wonderful.

(There is a longer list of these at http://armenianteens.com/newspaper.php - collected by journalists).

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