OLD Media Moves

The WSJ is trying to get away from clickbait headlines

July 5, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

William Power and Jennifer Hicks of The Wall Street Journal write about how the paper is trying to get away from writing “clickbait” headlines.

Power and Hicks write, “A headline can veer into this territory when it tries to sound mysterious, or comes across as if we are promising to wow the reader with a secret. That, in itself, can be a turnoff, because most people know by now to avoid clickbait. (It is especially bad when we don’t deliver on what we promised.) A headline should match the tone of the story, and assure readers that we have the details that make the story compelling.

“‘There’s sometimes an edge in our heads that isn’t in the stories,’ says Editor in Chief Matt Murray.

“While we are on the subject, we have been overdoing it on the question headlines. It is our job is to answer questions for readers in articles, not ask them. Don’t go overboard on the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ headlines either. ‘Sometimes, they work—but they also telegraph, ‘This nonurgent story can wait, and there’s not much news happening today,’ ‘ Matt says.

“Here are a few examples where we veered into clickbait and questions:

● Trump’s Immigrant-Detention Plans Benefit These Companies
● The Tax Wrinkle That Is Making Pension Funds Buy More Treasurys
 Don’t Want Kids? That’s All Right, Japanese Prime Minister Says
Trump Wants Oil the World Doesn’t Have”

Read more here.

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