Saturday 5 June 2010

Hold that front page and smash the template

Editorial expert Peter Sands on his blog uses the debacle of the Bedforshire Times & Citizen splash headline that wasn't to have a go at newspaper front pages that stick to a rigid two-deck headline template.
Says Peter: "Two-deck syndrome leads to lazy words squeezed into inappropriate shapes, it makes news pages all look the same (like wallpaper) and, as the Times & Citizen demonstrates, it turns news pages into a product, with one shape to fit all stories. Layout should be about story telling, not about drawing boxes. Words sell newspapers - but the drip-drip effect of predictable splash headline words such as plans, attacks, boost, drugs, shame, vandals, crash etc have become bland and invisible on the newsstands.
"Good headline writers need to use words that build immediate and vivid pictures in the minds of their potential readers. I have hundreds of examples of splash headlines that fail to do this because of two-deck syndrome - a large weekly paper that says ‘Plans promise jobs bonanza’, an evening that says ‘Youth crime blitz boost’. For all the extra sales they brought in, they might as well have just written 'headline headghgh.' "
Hat tip: deathknocking on twitter

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