Topless Woman Found in Headline Post

 

An anonymous tipster sent me an excellent suggestion. He thought the “How to Write a Great Post” list needed one more tip.  Looking at the examples he sent, I had to agree.

Hence: Rule #12: Create a clear, self-explanatory headline. Too many headlines are enigmas that require further investigation. Don’t make readers scan further to see if they are interested.

Entirely correct. But of course, that’s not all there is to the art of writing headlines–as anyone who spent years dreaming them up on newspaper desks will tell you. (And yes, I remember the days when “newspaper desks” existed.) So let me give you a few more tips. Of course, it’s as much art as science. The main thing, as our tipster notes, is that the headline must tell you what the post is about. That’s the the minimum, and it is also quite satisfactory. But if you feel inspired, try this: Tell them exactly enough to say what it’s about. But no more. Leave them just a bit unsure where you’re going with this, and highly motivated to read to very the end. Drop a subtle hint that the rest of the post might even be quite compelling. Clear and self-explanatory is great. But if readers don’t feel they’ve just got to know more, it’s either a bit too clear, or the post itself might not be that great.

For example: Oxford Graduates Rely on Old Boys’ Network Overseas

Sure passes the “clear and self-explanatory” test.  You probably have a sense of what that story’s about.

But which of these do you really want to read: Three Englishmen Saved From Boiling Pot by Cannibal Chief, Who was a Friend at Oxford

Bet you even clicked on  that one.

Or this: Foton-M4 satellite returns to Earth Following Satellite Heating Malfunction

Nothing wrong with that. Tells you what it’s about. Gets the job done.

But then again, so would this: Sex Geckos die in Orbit on Russian Space Project 

A slight change of emphasis. Still accurate. But that one made you want all  the story, didn’t it.

Or you could write a headline like this: French officials: Commercial Drones Pose no Threat

Perfectly accurate, I must say. I just don’t don’t feel threatened, so I can hardly complain that this is not  accurate.  But if I wanted to get my own attention, no less the wold’s, I figure this is the way to go:

UFO Buzzed French Nuclear Power Plant  See what I mean?

And now, gentlemen of Ricochet, confess. Why did you even read this far? I’ll bet I know:

Topless_Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You surely didn’t really think that would happen on Ricochet, dd you. So use your best judgment. I figure you’ll decide that with rare exceptions, clear and explanatory is more than good enough. But true enough: Sometimes a bit of inspiration can’t hurt.

Published in General
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 44 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    I’m rather fond of this headline, if I do say so myself:

    A Gun Owning, Big-Game Hunting Texas Tech Cheerleader

    The directness of it has a sublime beauty all its own.

    • #1
  2. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    Mike LaRoche:I’m rather fond of this headline, if I do say so myself:

    A Gun Owning, Big-Game Hunting Texas Tech Cheerleader

    The directness of it has a sublime beauty all its own.

    Cheerleaders, cheerleaders. It’s becoming an obsession Mike. (Claire you probably won’t get the inside joke, but your headline suggestions, along with your infectious humor, are great!).

    • #2
  3. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    A tipster was able to reach you directly? Talk about burying the lede!

    • #3
  4. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Actually, we had a story about topless women on Ricochet a long time ago. Russian feminists, as I recall.

    But we had to leave the site to see the demonstrators, um, demonstrating.

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Ms. Berlinski, your efforts to titillate have completely blown the alerts technology–I was alerted you had posted this discussion nine times at least, with an urgency uncharacteristic of Ricochet. I fear the system is not entirely capable to absorb the shock. Please, woo the audience, tantalize, but do not overwhelm-

    • #5
  6. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Claire Berlinski: And now, gentlemen of Ricochet, confess. Why did you even read this far? I’ll bet I know:

    Not… going… to… link… to… R. Crumb… devil… woman…

    • #6
  7. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Titus Techera:Ms. Berlinski, your efforts to titillate have completely blown the alerts technology–I was alerted you had posted this discussion nine times at least, with an urgency uncharacteristic of Ricochet. I fear the system is not entirely capable to absorb the shock. Please, woo the audience, tantalize, but do not overwhelm-

    I have alerted the authorities. That should not have happened. I apologize. When I find out whose fault it was, I shall–if it was mine–cringe, distract, divert, and hope it will be quickly forgotten. But if was someone else’s, I shall extract such fearsome vengeance that the fabric of spacetime itself shall shake, and never again will the world forget the power of my wrath.

    • #7
  8. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Claire Berlinski:

    Titus Techera:Ms. Berlinski, your efforts to titillate have completely blown the alerts technology–I was alerted you had posted this discussion nine times at least, with an urgency uncharacteristic of Ricochet. I fear the system is not entirely capable to absorb the shock. Please, woo the audience, tantalize, but do not overwhelm-

    I have alerted the authorities. That should not have happened. I apologize. When I find out whose fault it was, I shall–if it was mine–cringe, distract, divert, and hope it will be quickly forgotten. But if was someone else’s, I shall extract such fearsome vengeance that the fabric of spacetime itself shall shake, and never again will the world forget the power of my wrath.

    I expected nothing less. If meanwhile you will have caused a deluge of half-immoral curiosity–look for the ‘inquiring minds would like to know’–just tell them you can withstand the gaze of millions. & their friend.

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I believe there were suggestions for at least three more. They may have been on the Updates post. The only one I remember, of course, is my own.

    #13: Look before you Leap: Check the Member Feed before you post to ensure you aren’t putting out something that has already been done four times today. Even go to page two on the feed. At the very least, ensure that your take is a much different angle.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    And then, of course, ensure the new points are added over yonder.

    • #10
  11. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    So adding number 12 means that I now regularly violate another one of your rules.  Perhaps you could come up with another set of rules entirely, such as “how to write a decent story that may not be a great post but could still be somewhat interesting?”  I think I’d hit it a little closer to the mark if give that slightly different set of guidelines.

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Claire Berlinski: Hence: Rule #12: Create a clear, self-explanatory headline. Too many headlines are enigmas that require further investigation. Don’t make readers scan further to see if they are interested.

    So, a great post is one that people are less likely to read?

    • #12
  13. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Claire Berlinski:Topless_Women

    Wow. I’d heard you could get anything in Thailand, but I didn’t realize the degree of specialization that implied. And I’d heard oriental chicks were good about not talking back, but … damn!

    Gotta go book a flight.

    • #13
  14. user_1029039 Coolidge
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    Some others have complained that your list also insists that you must have your wife read your posts, or listen to them before you post. Many of the Ricochetti are women and find this rule grating. I myself don’t think women should be talking on the internet, but I thought I would pass along this request.

    • #14
  15. user_1029039 Coolidge
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    But I like an enigmatic headline. We get to read everybody’s first two paragraphs, so it’s not like you’re going into this thing completely blind. The best one I ever came up with was mangled by the editors, so I’m a little touchy about this subject.

    http://ricochet.com/archives/you-have-signed-the-papers-now-i-will-do-the-sex-to-you/

    • #15
  16. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Jason Rudert: I myself don’t think women should be talking on the internet…

    Well, that’s obviously not gonna be a problem once this plane touches down in Bangkok. Halflequins, here I come.

    • #16
  17. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Or if all else fails just add the words “Queen Claire” to your headline. Take the front page at this hour:

    A QUEST TO VISIT QUEEN CLAIRE IN ALL FIFTY STATES

    QUEEN CLAIRE MAY BREAK MY BONES

    YES, REAGANOMICS NEEDS A 21st CENTURY QUEEN CLAIRE

    SAVE THE WORLD; EAT… (No scratch that. That will only get you banned.)

    OK, it works 90% of the time.

    • #17
  18. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    RICOCHETIER LOST IN PACIFIC AIR CRASH

    Family Says “Was On Quest For Queen Claire’s Better Half”

    Don’t blame me. EJ said to.

    • #18
  19. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Hello? Anybody?

    We are the survivors of Queen Claire Air flight 66. We have crashed and are stranded on an island. The pilots are dead and the stewardesses won’t stop talking. Please rescue us.

    I and three other survivors are leaving soon to investigate a strange hatch someone found. He said he stumbled over it while running from a grinning half black man with smoky nebulous rhetoric, but we put that down to hallucinations from lack of internet access. We had to put him down too, that guy was crazy. He said his name was Jeb. Kept asking everybody to donate their mangoes, wouldn’t quit. I guess he felt he was entitled to them.

    I’ll try to report more when we reach the hatch. We’re departing the camp now; our leader is another of the surviving passengers. Seems like a reliable guy, name of Cruz.

    [Tell y’all what, I’m liking this time-machine editing feature. My prose style needs some serious work before I switch to journalism.]

    • #19
  20. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Those three Englishman were lucky I wasn’t there.

    I was at Wadham College, in Cambridge (for an evening).

    They would have been the toast of the tribe.

    • #20
  21. user_1029039 Coolidge
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    Ed, I’m liking the idea of you as Brooklyn’s most learned cannibal.

    • #21
  22. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Jason Rudert:Ed, I’m liking the idea of you as Brooklyn’s most learned cannibal.

    I only eat the brains of certified geniuses.

    Have you still got that certificate from Mensa, Jason?  I was thinking of visiting.

    Bwahahaha!

    Reanimator Poster

    I could get you Barbara Crampton’s phone number if you’d like.

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    *Exits conversation hastily.*

    • #23
  24. user_1029039 Coolidge
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    I could get you Barbara Crampton’s phone number if you’d like.

    Seriously? Cuz that’d be sweet!

    • #24
  25. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    I remember seeing somewhere a list of clever headlines–like the one concerning taste in the arts, sticks nix hicks pics or words to that effect–that included something similar–headless woman in topless bar, maybe? Journalists might enjoy a good, if brief chance at wit. In that sense, all journalism is just esprit d’escalier.

    • #25
  26. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Back in camp at the beach, finally. I’m never going into that jungle again, I don’t care what Cruz says. I’m staying here with the stewardesses, Boehner and McConnell.

    Jeb was right. (Well, about one thing. I guess that’s something. I still think we did the right thing, tho’.) There is a malevolent grinning specter in that forest – and it’s got a teleprompter. I never ran so fast in my life.

    But if we hadn’t encountered the bloviation monster we’d have never gotten the hatch open. We were sitting there banging away on it when the jug-eared creature rolled up flanked by a cranky onanist, and some sick old bird on its shoulder that kept squawking “Pass it to find out. Pass it to find out. Awwk!” Nearly drove us insane.

    Fortunately the bloviator was wearing a suicide vest, the latest model from DuPont with the “Religion of Peace” logo and everything. When Cruz flashed it a Republikkkan gang sign, it pushed the button by reflex. Good man, that Cruz. Blew the hatch open like tissue paper. I know that ’cause the creature’s cranky sidekick had a big wad of the stuff.

    As the dust cleared we could hear our foes scampering away. Once they were out of sight we crept forward, mindful that anything that could scare them off was probably too much for us. Still, after coming all this way we had to look.

    Ah, it was awful. Now I know where the top halves of all those sweet Thai halflequins went. But that wasn’t the worst. Deep in the chamber, the outlines of a monstrous fleshy pyramid slowly resolved in the smoke and gloom. It rattled its wattles at us and we were unmanned, to a man. As it began to croak derisively, we fled. I swear, I’ll hear that voice in my nightmares. “What does it matter now? It takes a village!” The horror.

    So by all that’s Claire, I’m not leaving this beach. What would I do with the noisy end of all those halflequins? Besides, I think these girls McConnell and Boehner might be, um, easy. If you know what I mean. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

    • #26
  27. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    Your headlines, especially the sex references, won’t work for those sitting at company desk where Websense is used in the network.

    For a year, I had a desk at a Shell Chemical facility with access via Shell’s network.  I could not access heat exchanger or pump.  Go figure that two important types of equipment used in such a facility could neither be accessed or searched for it those to names were in the title/keyword.

    • #27
  28. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Kermit Hoffpauir:Your headlines, especially the sex references, won’t work for those sitting at company desk where Websense is used in the network.

    For a year, I had a desk at a Shell Chemical facility with access via Shell’s network. I could not access heat exchanger or pump. Go figure that two important types of equipment used in such a facility could neither be accessed or searched for it those to names were in the title/keyword.

    I em here to repair the Heat Exhange Unit.

    Did you bring the Pump?

    Yessss

    Will it fit?

    I think so.  And it has variable speeds.

    Oh, good.

    You’ll need music.

    • #28
  29. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Titus Techera:–headless woman in topless bar, maybe?

    Maybe, indeed. Headless Woman Found in Topless Bar. The greatest headline in tabloid history.

    Boy, I hope my headline was worth 9,000 unnecessary alerts. But see, I honestly thought that headline was the second-best in history. I figured everyone would instantly get that.

    Anyway, for the young ‘uns, who maybe didn’t: We used to have these things called print newspapers. With journalists who went out and reported stuff, and copy desks, and sub-editors who put headlines on things and thought of this as a real professional skill. And it used to be that when someone on the desk thought of a hed like that, they’d think: “I can’t believe it. The headline fairy just sprinkled headline-fairy dust on me.

    There was this whole culture of jokes like that among sub-editors. A good hed might even get you a respectful nod from the copy chief–of whom you were otherwise utterly terrified, because he would make your life a living hell if you let a factual mistake slip into the copy. Hell. Like, now if someone gave you hell like that, you’d sue for some kind of “hostile workplace environment” thing and you’d win. You can’t imagine how seriously journalists used to take things like “factual mistakes.” (And headlines, actually.)

    Then after work you’d all go out for a drink, and whether the paper that day had been good or bad, it would be lining a birdcage by the time you got back the next morning. so you didn’t take yourselves that seriously. You’d all know you were journalists, which wasn’t a totally respectable profession, of course, but you did have some professional standards, and people didn’t just hate, distrust and laugh at you because you were from the media. And if someone had said, “Your job is to control the narrative,” as opposed to “report the news,” you would have said–I mean, I don’t even know what you’d have said. You’d have just said, “Huh?” It just would never have occurred to you to “control a narrative.”

    I swear it used to be like that. And I know everyone always goes on about the good old days, but I do think we lost something important.

    • #29
  30. user_409996 Inactive
    user_409996
    @EdwardSmith

    Claire Berlinski:

    Titus Techera:–headless woman in topless bar, maybe?

    Maybe, indeed. Headless Woman Found in Topless Bar. The greatest headline in tabloid history.

    Boy, I hope my headline was worth 9,000 unnecessary alerts. But see, I honestly thought that headline was the second-best in history. I figured everyone would instantly get that.

    Anyway, for the young ‘uns, who maybe didn’t: We used to have these things called print newspapers. With journalists who went out and reported stuff, and copy desks, and sub-editors who put headlines on things and thought of this as a real professional skill. And it used to be that when someone on the desk thought of a hed like that, they’d think: “I can’t believe it. The headline fairy just sprinkled headline-fairy dust on me.

    There was this whole culture of jokes like that among sub-editors. A good hed might even get you a respectful nod from the copy chief–of whom you were otherwise utterly terrified, because he would make your life a living hell if you let a factual mistake slip into the copy. Hell. Like, now if someone gave you hell like that, you’d sue for some kind of “hostile workplace environment” thing and you’d win. You can’t imagine how seriously journalists used to take things like “factual mistakes.” (And headlines, actually.)

    Then after work you’d all go out for a drink, and whether the paper that day had been good or bad, it would be lining a birdcage by the time you got back the next morning. so you didn’t take yourselves that seriously. You’d all know you were journalists, which wasn’t a totally respectable profession, of course, but you did have some professional standards, and people didn’t just hate, distrust and laugh at you because you were from the media. And if someone had said, “Your job is to control the narrative,” as opposed to “report the news,” you would have said–I mean, I don’t even know what you’d have said. You’d have just said, “Huh?” It just would never have occurred to you to “control a narrative.”

    I swear it used to be like that. And I know everyone always goes on about the good old days, but I do think we lost something important.

    Did Variety have inside source of Headline Fairy Dust?

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.