Headlines are texts that appear at the top of newspaper articles and they usually indicate the nature of the article below it. The purpose of a headline is to provide a quick preview of the story and it is usually meant to draw the reader’s attention. The editor, coeditor or other writers may compose a headline.
Those headlines that appear at the front page of the newspapers are usually bigger than those that are within the paper. Sometimes, headlines are written in such a way as to suggest that the story is actually more interesting or catchy that it really is. This is done to draw the attention of people as much as possible or to show the seriousness of the article.
Headlines twice the size of the event
This statement is used to show how the headlines are usually exaggerated. When a person reads the headline, another thought or expectation may arise but that perception may change ones the person sits down to read it.
Sometimes, the headlines might appear greater than the events within its context if the reader – due to the short nature of the headlines – misunderstands it. The headlines should be short, precise and straight to the point. This might lead to the use of puns or alliteration in order to shorten it or make it as brief as possible.
This form of word play may lead to double meaning and this is usually unintentional. Some may make the story appear to be something completely different from what is being reflected from the heading. Headlines are meant to be catchy and draw the attention of readers and that is why writers try to make it more exciting than the story itself.
One method in which writers make the headlines catchy and make it grab the attention of reader is through diction. This is whereby the choice of words is used to interpret some set of events. For example, the words died and killed are different in terms of the semantic and emotional effect.
Similarly, the words kill and murder have different effects to the perceptions of the reader. The use of the word murder on the headline would make the story appear more gruesome and hence catchy. When the word kill is used in place of the word murder, it would not appear to be as serious.
Another method used to make the headlines bigger than the event is through sensationalism or exaggeration. This is whereby the writer writes a headline that exaggerates the actual event in the story. In this case, the writer tries to increase the publication of the event or to increase the broadcast’s consumption.
They may also exaggerate stories in order to maximize the emotional response of the readers. However, this may appear to be a form of biasing since the writers may only do this to get the attention of the readers and compromise the truthfulness of the event itself.
Headlines are important to readers since it gives them a preview of the story or the event within the article. A good headline gives a good understanding of the story and is self-explanatory. One would not require reading the whole story in order to understand the headline but the reverse is true. The reader should understand the story just by reading the headline. However, some headlines are usually exaggerated in order to be catchier to the readers.