20 November 2007

Work-related stuff: the end of puns

I know, I know, more work-related stuff rather than my adventures in suburbia...but there's a really interesting article in Monday's Guardian on the search for a perfect headline, and how the ancient art of subediting is being affected by keywording for search engines.

It's particularly important because lots of papers are integrating their newsrooms - so the same article might appear in print or online or as a broadcast. And if its headline is a clever pun or comment on popular culture that doesn't immediately give you the key words from the story, then it's less likely to be found online. So no more Gotcha! But Freddy Starr Ate My Hamster will still survive...

It's a shame, because although I don't read it on a regular basis, I always marvel at the headlines in The Sun et al. They're consistently funny, annoying, attention-grabbing delights, that make you want to read further. As someone who struggled to come up with 39-character headlines for Ceefax (trust me, there's a limit to how exciting you can make news from Cumbria), I really admire the subs' art.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to listen to JRT read the Book at Bedtime. Normal service will resume shortly.

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