headline n : the heading or caption of a newspaper article [syn: newspaper headline]
1 publicize widely or highly, as if with a headline
2 provide (a newspaper page or a story) with a headline
- In the context of "entertainment": To have top billing; to be the main attraction
A headline is text at the top of a newspaper article, indicating the nature of the article below it.
FormatHeadlines are usually written in bold and in a much larger size than the article text. Front page headlines are often in upper case so that they can be easily read by the passing potential customer. Headlines in other parts of the paper are more commonly in sentence case though title case is often used in the USA.
Headline conventions include normally using present tense, omitting forms of the verb "to be" in certain contexts, and removing short articles like "a" and "the". Most newspapers feature a very large headline on their front page, dramatically describing the biggest news of the day. A headline may also be followed by a smaller secondary headline which gives a bit more information or a subhead (also called a deck or nutgraf in some areas). Words chosen for headlines are often short, giving rise to headlinese.
Production of headlines within the editorial environmentHeadlines are generally written by copy editors, but may also be written by the writer, the page layout designer or a news editor or managing editor.
The film The Shipping News has an illustrative exchange between the protagonist, who is learning how to write for a local newspaper, and his publisher: Publisher: It's finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that's what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, [pointing at dark clouds gathering in the sky over the ocean] what do you see? Tell me the headline. Protagonist: HORIZON FILLS WITH DARK CLOUDS? Publisher: IMMINENT STORM THREATENS VILLAGE. Protagonist: But what if no storm comes? Publisher: VILLAGE SPARED FROM DEADLY STORM.
In the United States, headline contests are sponsored by the American Copy Editors Society, the National Federation of Press Women, and many state press associations.
Unusual headlinesOccasionally, the need to keep headlines brief leads to unintentional double meanings, if not double entendres. For example, if the story is about the president of Iraq trying to acquire weapons, the headline might be IRAQI HEAD SEEKS ARMS. Or if some agricultural legislation is defeated in the United States House of Representatives, the title could read FARMER BILL DIES IN HOUSE.
- WALL ST. LAYS AN EGG - Variety on Black Monday (1929)
- STICKS NIX HICK PIX - Variety writing that rural moviegoers preferred urbane films (1935)
- DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN - The Chicago Tribune reporting the wrong election winner (1948)
- FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD - New York Daily News reporting the denial of a federal bailout (1975)
- SICK TRANSIT'S GLORIOUS MONDAY - New York Daily News reporting a state transit bailout (1980)
- GOTCHA! - The UK Sun on the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War (1981)
- HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR - New York Post on a local murder (1983)
- HICKS NIX KNICKS IN SIX - New York Daily News on an NBA Conference Finals win by Indiana Pacers (2000)
- GREAT SATAN SITS DOWN WITH THE AXIS OF EVIL - The UK The Times on US-Iran talks (2007)
- SUPER CALEY GO BALLISTIC CELTIC ARE ATROCIOUS - Sun on Inverness Caledonian Thistle beating Celtic in the Scottish Cup
- FREDDIE STARR ATE MY HAMSTER - Sun on Lea La Salle's claim that the comedian had eaten her pet in a sandwich. Max Clifford later admitted that the story was a fabrication.
- ICE CREAM MAN HAS ASSETS FROZEN - BBC News: An ice cream salesman has his assets frozen for suspectedly smuggling tobacco
- Front Page - The British Library Exhibition of famous newspaper headlines (2006)
- Heads you win: The readers' editor on the art of the headline writer
headline in German: Schlagzeile
headline in Dutch: Krantenkop
headline in Japanese: 見出し
headline in Portuguese: Manchete
headline in Simple English: Headline
headline in Swedish: Tidningsrubrik
headline in Chinese: 頭條新聞
banner, banner head, be a gas, be a hit, bill, bomb, caption, dramatize, drop head, dropline, epigraph, fail, feature, flop, hanger, head, head up, heading, jump head, legend, make a hit, melodramatize, motto, mount, open, open a show, overline, premiere, present, preview, produce, put on, rubric, running head, running title, scarehead, scenarize, screamer, set the stage, spread, spreadhead, stage, star, streamer, subhead, subheading, subtitle, succeed, superscription, theatricalize, title, title page, try out