The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

THE ART OF THE HEADLINE
Congratulations to the St. Pete Times' Jim Webster for winning the American Copy Editors Society award for best headline writer.

Headline writing is a decidedly underrated skill. You often walk a fine line between being clever and being overly punny; and you only have a few words to pull it off. I love it, although I use it pretty sparingly on this ol' blog. Some days you got it, some you don't.

Here are Jim's winning heds:

Look out Barbie: G.I. George is a doll (on a story about a new George Bush action figure).

Looking for work? You and 9.4-million others (on a story about the jobless rate).

That better not be the water bill (over a photograph of a woman reaching into a mailbox as water sloshes around the wheels of her bicycle).

McDonald's takes a quarter pounding (about the fast-food chain's first-ever quarterly loss).

In Middle East, even optimism is guarded (over a story about the uncertainty over the peace plan there).

The McDonald's one is a keeper, for sure.

This brings to mind a couple of my favorites from the Times' Sports page. I can't claim authorship of these--one is from 1994, before I started there--but they've always stuck with me:

SHAW-SHAQ REDEMPTION - From back when Brian Shaw and Shaquille O'Neal were teammates in Orlando.

NIL-NIL... IT'S BRAZIL! - A most fitting topper for the championship game of the 1994 World Cup, a 0-0 game between Brazil and Italy, decided by penalty kicks.