Saturday, May 29, 2010

Names in headlines

THE BOSS AT A small daily newspaper had a few things he didn't want his writers and editors to do. No names in a headline, unless the subject is famous, of course. Andy Griffith might make a headline, but no one else.

His reasoning? "Simpson wins lawsuit" could be a famous former football player, an equally famous singer/actress who looks good in tight pants or Joe Simpson, a local plumber. So no names in headlines.

Normally, I might disagree on this one, but today I ran across the headline Johnson to meet with Nets. My first thought was, "Boy, I hope Magic Johnson isn't coming back!" It turns out that Avery Johnson is a coaching candidate with the Nets. They could have said Nets to talk to possible coach or Former coach to talk to Nets. Johnson didn't help at all in that headline.

Boss didn't let us use names to start a story either. Sorry. His thinking seemed to be that stories that started with names were boring. He may have been right, but it sure was hard to write a story that didn't start with a name. Hey, the boss started this story, didn't he?

The boss hated to see an "I" in a column. He once counted nearly 50 I's in one of my columns and hit the roof. The next column had no I's, me's or we's, and he almost gloated.

His other quirk? He hated it when you used a name other than a person's name. If you said "the boss" too many times, he hated it. If you said "the writer" too many times, he changed it. Then he blew up.

But the boss was a terrific editor.

Oops! Sorry, boss ... few I's here, but too many bosses.

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1 comment:

  1. this post. So glad I found you. I'll be adding you to my blog list to visit!