I WROTE AT LEAST 10,000 newspaper headlines from 1986 to 1991, which makes me sympathetic to the copywriter responsible for, “Homicide victims rarely talk to police” (below). Working 10-hour shifts at a quantity-over-quality newspaper in Vacaville, California, I slapped many a dull or “duh!” heading on locally written news copy.
My worst headlines probably never got through; we had a “slot” editor who rewrote the really wretched ones. The worst ones I can recall making it into print are “Harness can save your young infant’s life” (there are no old infants, I’ve been informed), and “First lady bounces back from breast surgery” (I didn’t mean it the way it sounds. Really).
So read the following and laugh if you will. Just don’t judge the possibly overworked, bleary eyed headline writers too harshly.