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Myra Bronstein
10-29-2008, 04:38 AM
Who writes column titles in newspapers? Is it the author of the column or someone at the newspaper?

Here's why I'm asking.

"Will Swift: British years that put a philanderer on the path to presidency"

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/opinion/Will-Swift-British-years-that.4635380.jp

Looks like the column is going to be a real hatchet job on John Kennedy doesn't it? We've been subjected to decades of trash written about him, presumably so we won't understand the true value of what was taken from us.

However, the actual article says nothing about Kennedy's philandering. Nothing. It's very admiring, for example:

"Learning from his father's mistakes, Jack would embody hope, flexibility, strength, and visionary optimism. Jack recognised that realism had to be leavened with optimism and courage had to be supported by a moral vision.

Moving beyond his father's focus on keeping the world secure, Jack Kennedy felt secure enough in himself that he could focus on transforming it. Jack absorbed his father's commitment to excellence and, as president, Jack Kennedy called the American people to greatness, and to public service ("Ask not what your country can do for you?").

In one of his finest and most courageous moments, on two succeeding days in June 1963, Jack gave his great "Peace Speech" at American University, setting the stage for the de-escalation of the culture of crisis and confrontation with the Soviet Union, and a televised address to the nation in which he called upon the American people to recognise the moral and practical importance of desegregation.

Jack Kennedy's extraordinary place in the nation's psyche is the greatest legacy of Joe and Rose Kennedy's tenure in London."

So where does a trashy, and in this case irrelevant, title like that come from?

Jack White
10-29-2008, 05:17 AM
Editors and/or headline writers write newspaper headlines, depending on the size of the staff. Bigger papers have headline specialists. On smaller papers it may be the editor. The author almost never writes headlines, which must fit size and space requirements.

Jack

Myra Bronstein
10-29-2008, 06:05 AM
So, apparently the editor/headline writers attached a scurrilous headline to a flattering column about President Kennedy. It's just stunning. The headline does not match the content of the piece at all.

Jan Klimkowski
10-29-2008, 06:22 PM
Editors and/or headline writers write newspaper headlines, depending on the size of the staff. Bigger papers have headline specialists. On smaller papers it may be the editor. The author almost never writes headlines, which must fit size and space requirements.

Jack

Jack is correct.

In the UK, sub-editors rather than the actual reporter typically write headlines.

The main point of headlines is to get people to buy the newspaper. Their more general purpose is to persuade readers to look at an article they might otherwise not bother reading.

As a result, headlines often bear only tangential relation to the articles below, and will almost without exception be more sensational than the piece justifies.

Charles Drago
10-29-2008, 10:56 PM
The secondary point of headlines is to pre-shape the reader's perspective on what's to follow.

The first word often turns out to influence the last word.

A story headlined "JFK Likes 'Em Four at a Time" and focused on Kennedy's White House cultural programs will leave a majority of readers thinking about a presidential preference for chamber maids rather than for chamber music.