12 News Writing Rules Used by Sub-Editors for Compelling Headlines


January 18, 2019 admin 0 Comment

3. Avoid the use of is, are, was, to be etc.

4. Do use active verbs, because they are quite necessary.

5. Avoid the use of articles like a, an, the.

6. A headline should be preferably specific and in a direct form.

7. Only well known abbreviations should be used in the headlines. Sometimes, in the case of ‘and’ comma can be used.

8. As far as the writing of good headlines and fitting them into the limited space allotted to them is concerned, the sub-editor must also learn something about the units of letters and the type sizes. For proper count of units of letters he should know the sizes of the various letters in terms of units in a given type of setting.

9. If the headlines is composed of all capital letters then M and W are allotted one and one half units; I and in some types L and T are considered equal to half unit, whereas all other letters are allotted one unit.

On the other hand, when the headline is in capital and lower case letters then capital I am considered equal to half unit. Sometimes, in some type capital I is equal to one unit also and the same applies sometimes to capital L and T also.

10. All other capital letters are considered equal to one and one half units. The lower case m and w are considered equal to one and one half unit.

The lower case I, i, r, and t equal to half a unit whereas all other lower case letters are equal to one unit each. In numerals 0 and 8 are equal to one and one half units, whereas all others are equal to one unit each.

The space between letters is counted as half a unit and symbols like ?, $, +? And % is equal to one unit whereas Rs is equal to one and a half units. Generally, for punctuation mark half unit is allotted. For a single quotation mark (‘) half a unit is counted whereas for a double quotation mark (“) a full unit is counted.

11. Usually, the practice is to make use of fewer units in a line than the total number of units which can be fitted into it. For example, if in a line sixteen units can be better to have a headline that accommodated then it is better to have headlines that have only 14 units to avoid overcrowding.

Of course, the above count cannot be considered in isolation. On the other hand, it is always more in correlation to the size which is used in the newspaper. You can write a headline in a variety of types. It is called Roman when the ordinary type is used. It is called Bold or Black when thick and dark types are used.

When the type is neither so dark nor so thick then it is called condensed. Although the space which is occupied by a type is greatly dependent on the family of the type used, yet the Roman type occupies the least space whereas the Bold or Black occupies the maximum space.

12. The unit for the measurement of type sizes is called the point. A point is approximately equal to 1/72 of an inch. For writing headlines 12 point, 14 point, 18 point, 24 point, 30 point, 36 point, 48 point, and 72 point type sizes are used. Compara­tively fewer letters can be used in a large type, because the larger the type size, the more will be the points.

The different type sizes are used for writing the headlines according to their importance, grading, size and layout of the page. Every newspaper follows certain definite patterns for writing headlines according to its house style.