My second session of the day, “Inside Reader’s Heads,” was pretty interesting because it examined what readers think when they see a headline standing alone by itself. This was helpful because it gave me a better idea of what readers look for in a headline and what type of stories they’ll want to read based on the headline, but the session was a little disappointing in the way they conveyed their information.
First of all, I thought the leader of the session, Teresa Schmedding, ACES president and managing editor of the Daily Herald Media Group, was very rude. She poked fun at students’ questions several times and didn’t do a very good job of directing the flow of the session. Additionally, I thought the chosen headlines to be analyzed were not good examples because they were so strange that they obviously would never be used as actual headlines, so I didn’t see what their point was with using them.
Still, I took away some important ideas from the session: Readers like headlines that are vague but still specific enough to give them an idea of the topic of the story. This basically means a headline shouldn’t give away the outcome of the story – it should simply tell you what it’s about. Readers also can appreciate a creative, quirky headline, so always strive to present information in an interesting way. But at the end of the day, a reader is really only going to read a story if it’s a topic that interests them, so it’s the job of the writer to do as good of a job as they can with making the story appeal to everyone.
– Kyra Gemberling