Functions of the Headline It captures the readers' attention, retains their attention, and informs them about the story. A headline should: draw the reader's attention; describe the content; represent the mood of the narrative; assist in setting the tone of the newspaper; and give enough typographic relief.
Headlines play an important role in journalism. They can attract attention from potential readers, thus, influencing whether they will read further into the article or not. They can also retain readers' interest by catching their imagination or provoking thought. Finally, headlines can inform readers about the content of an article, explaining its main points or summarizing significant evidence.
In general, a headline is a short piece of text that usually appears at the top of an article or page. There are several types of headlines, such as subheads, caption boxes, feature stories, and ad heads. Each type of headline has different purposes. Subheads are used within articles to break up long sentences or sections. Caption boxes are placed around photos to provide additional information about the subject being photographed. Feature stories are written specifically for publication; they often include interviews with multiple people and use dramatic language to attract readers. Ad heads are used on pages designed to sell products or services. They often include large, eye-catching images to entice readers.
There are four major functions of a headline: grab attention, convey meaning, summarize, and close out.
The news headline may perform a number of purposes, such as story summarizing, interest development, immediacy satisfaction, and attention orientation. News headlines may also be used to pique people's interest in a story. This can be effective whether or not people actually read the article which links to it.
Headlines contain key elements that attract readers' attention and make them want to read on. These elements include hooking words and phrases (i.e., interesting facts, surprising statistics), intriguing titles (i.e., What's so funny about peace signs? ), and strong writing style. Headlines should be written using simple language that is easy to understand. They should avoid using complex vocabulary or scientific terminology unless it is essential to do so for accuracy reasons.
In addition to these general guidelines, there are several other factors that may help or hurt a headline's effectiveness including its length, frequency, and location within the article.
One study conducted by Michael King and colleagues at the University of Oxford found that headlines containing words that signal urgency or excitement (such as "blast," "crash," "disaster") get read more quickly than those that do not. This effect was observed even when subjects were able to click buttons to move onto another page/article.
Another type of headline that attracts attention is the teaser.
The objective of a headline is to rapidly and briefly bring attention to the subject. It is usually written by a copy editor, although it can also be done by the writer, the page layout designer, or other editors. Headlines are used to catch readers' eyes as they browse through the newspaper. They should be short and to the point, but not so brief that they become meaningless. Generally, a headline should be readable in its entirety while sitting in someone's in-box or on their desk without scrolling down. However, this rule is not always followed; for example, some tabloid newspapers have very long headlines.
In journalism, the headline is an important element in advertising revenue. Headlines draw readers' attention to an article and encourage them to read the full story. Good headlines are also useful when searching for articles based on keywords or topics. Badly written headlines can scare away readers or cause them to click out of an article altogether.
In addition to drawing readers in, well-written headline can also help journalists gain access to certain groups of people. For example, a journalist may want to reach young adults or parents with children, so she/he could write about topics such as "how kids these days are..." or "why parents should trust this brand."
They strive to be as efficient as possible for readers who have limited time to read the news. The primary roles of headlines do not have to be mutually exclusive. Many headlines seek to summarize, pique readers' curiosity, meet urgent requirements, and draw attention to themselves. Headlines are also used as sales tools, to promote particular products or services.
Headlines can be divided into five basic types: alarming, appealing, explanatory, encouraging, and informative. These categories are not rigidly defined, and many headlines fall outside them. However, these types often provide a guide to how editors hope readers will respond to their articles.
Alarming headlines grab readers' attention by offering information on some form of danger. They can warn of natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, etc.) or acts of violence (bombings, shootings), but they may also report on accidents with serious consequences (automobile crashes). Alarming headlines should always include someone's name so that readers know who is being warned about. Names can be included in the headline itself (e.g., "A fire burns through downtown") or referred to in the text (e.g., "A fire captain described what happened next").
Appealing headlines offer something valuable or desirable to readers.