Headlines and titles

[These guidelines apply only to editor-generated titles]

In almost all newspaper formats, only the first word and all proper nouns and adjectives are capitalized in the headlines for news. Other publications may capitalize all main words or use special fonts with all capitals. While minimal capitalizing is preferred, whatever system an editor uses should be consistently applied throughout. In addition, headlines may contain certain shortened methods of writing, because of space limitation, that are inappropriate in text. For example:

Headlines         Text
single quotes (')
double quotes (" ")
single digit numerals
(1 through 9)
numerals one through nine
spelled out

Hard news

For news stories of an objective nature--activity reports or informative articles--keep the headlines as objective and straightforward as possible. Always include a verb form in the headline to give the title strength and action.

Providence wins district
Fanfare captures first place
Cavemen urged to sell annual show tickets
Christmas party, installation banquet dates set

The goal is objective clarity. If an editor tries to be creative with headlines for hard news, he runs the risk of misleading readers who might then bypass the article.


For feature articles, human interest stories, or interviews and profiles, the editor can be a little more creative in preparing headlines in order to attract the reader's attention. Consider the following examples and the general content of the articles:

A wife, a barbershop chord, and a job!
(an article by a Society president's wife)
Were you there?
(an article from a chapter member concerning declining participation at contest)
If you gave it, we sold it!
(an article about a yard sale for Heartspring)

Columns and standing headlines

Articles from contributing authors, such as chapter president, membership VP, or Heartspring chairman, may often have uniquely phrased standing headlines. In these instances, the headlines should have the first letter of all major words capitalized. Here are some rather clever examples indicating a recurring column:

Our Man Up Front
(the director's article)
Direct Lyne
(an article from Dr. Greg Lyne)
Sounds from the Graham-o-phone
(column from Past Illinois District President Jim Graham)
Jim's Gems
Harmony and Tone with Mel Stone
Once Upon a Pitch Pipe

Recurring standing heads, each should be accompanied by a subhead that describes what the column is about. Usually, the standing head is in a larger font while the subhead is in a smaller font or in italics. For example:

Thor's Thunderings
Good PR builds membership

Once created, these headlines serve as very effective devices for establishing continuity from one bulletin to the next. Whenever possible, position the column in the same location in every issue. For example, a reader always knows where to find the Society president's column in The Harmonizer because of its position and heading.


back to Index

back to Aids for Bulletin Editors