Just reading a piece by David Sloly where he talks about there being only three types of headlines:
- The promise headline
- The intrigue headline
- The news headline
The promise headline gives you a clear indication of what you will get.
The intrigue headline draws you in with a suggestion you can’t resist.
The news headline will be about something new and interesting.
Is this true?
Looking at the BBC website, here are a selection of headlines with a stab at categorising them.
- Model guilty of killing millionaire ex-boyfriend [Intrigue]/[News]
- England v Sri Lanka: Second Test, day one [News]
- Is this the most racist advert ever made? [Intrigue]
- Obama: Hiroshima memory must not fade [News]
- EU campaign’s ‘misleading voters’ [Intrigue]
- Tarot reader tells of murder confession [Intrigue]
- Injured Nadal pulls out of French Open [News]
- How good is this? China’s solution for traffic jams [Intrigue]
- Seven awkward music falls at major sporting events [Promise]
- 14 amazing gifts Guyana has given the world [Promise]
The last two are a little harder to push into a category. The promise is of a list – falls at sporting events, amazing gifts. These two are not news, and they are not intriguing – or in any case less intriguing than some other examples.
You could use the mnemonic PIN to remember these three ways of writing headlines: Promise, Intrigue and News.